GOP Candidates for Lt. Governor Hold TV Debate

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DALLAS (AP) The four Republican candidates vying to be Texas lieutenant governor - a post considered to be the most powerful in the state - are got their first televised chance to win over voters.

Dallas public television station KERA hosted an hour-long debate at 8 p.m. Monday.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is facing one of the toughest re-election bids of his career. His three challengers for the GOP nomination are Houston Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

The lieutenant governor's power comes from presiding over the Texas Senate, appointing the committee chairs and shaping what legislation makes it to a vote. The governor can veto a bill, but the lieutenant governor can decide if a proposed law makes it to the governor's desk.