Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is putting distance between himself and supporter Jerry Patterson who leaked documents about his opponent's mental health history. Court documents from three decades ago show state Sen. Dan Patrick was briefly hospitalized for depression. It's something Patrick has spoken about publicly in the past. He says hasn't needed additional treatment or medication in 30 years.
In 2011, Patrick's physician released a letter saying the symptoms of depression decreased within a short time and he was discharged. He's been asymptomatic for all of these years and a reoccurrence is unlikely.
Patterson who placed fourth in the primary supports Dewhurst. He says he leaked documents to the media because he feels voters should know who they might elect. In an email to members of the media Patterson writes, "we CANNOT wait. If we don't do this now it will not be known before early voting starts."
The email chain shows Patterson received documents from Joe Manero, a Dewhurst supporter. Dewhurst says Manero is not part of his campaign staff.
The war of words in what's considered to be a negative race heats up as voters head to the polls. Political analyst and professor at St. Edward's University says Patterson's efforts could backfire.
"I don't think it could get any uglier. I think we are at the absolute bottom that's someone attacking mental health issues," said Smith.
In a statement released to FOX 7 Patrick's campaign calls the attack outrageous. "Dewhurst has hit rock bottom and now he's found a new low. He has no honor and knows no shame," said Allen Blakemore, Patrick's campaign consultant.
Dewhurst also released a statement. "Patterson operates completely independently from my campaign and over my objections to choose to release information," said Dewhurst. "My heart goes out to Dan Patrick and his family for what they've endured while coping with this situation."
A recent Wickers Group poll shows Patrick leads Dewhurst by 14 points. Election Day is May 27th. Early voting starts Monday, May 19th.