Like High School, With Money

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas (l) and Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston (r)

Does the John Carona-Dan Patrick spat help either senator’s hopes of becoming the next lieutenant governor?

A friend in the lobby calls the Legislature “high school, with money.” He’s dead on. Look who’s passing nasty notes back and forth for the whole class to see: Patrick, a pious Houston Republican and the self-appointed voice of the conservative faction in the Senate’s GOP caucus, and Carona, a pugilistic Dallas Republican who would like to be the next lieutenant governor of the state and who seems perfectly willing to accept the 16 votes that would take from anyone in the Senate — even Democrats.

Over the weekend, somebody in the 31-member Senate shared a note with the Quorum Report that was supposed to stay inside. (Memo from Benjamin Franklin: “Three may keep a secret so long as two are dead.”) In it, Patrick blasted Carona for spreading a rumor about Patrick and his wife breaking up. It’s not true, he wrote, parboiling the Dallas senator for spreading gossip. Carona responded the same way you might expect from a guy known in the Senate for his volcanic temper. He wrote a note — copying everyone — scorching Patrick for scorching him, and raising new gossip about the Houstonian’s sexual preferences. And then Patrick responded in kind, kicking Carona and declaring that he would speak no more of it.

If you haven’t seen this (Out of town? Wireless was down? Dropped the phone in the sink?), here are some excerpts.

From Patrick’s note:

I was in Dallas last week and learned that Senator Carona has told people outside the Senate that Jan and I are separated and may get divorced. He added in a few other negative comments about me in an obvious attempt by him to discredit me for some reason.

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