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By W. Gardner Selby January 15, 2010

Hector Uribe says Jerry Patterson threatened to shoot him

Two former state senators are warming up Texas-style in anticipation of a fall showdown over who should be Texas land commissioner through 2014.

Lately, they've kidded each other about gunplay.

Democrat Hector Uribe's campaign went so far as to issue a press release suggesting the Republican he hopes to defeat, incumbent Commissioner Jerry Patterson, recently threatened to shoot him.

Uribe's Jan. 11 release states: "Meanwhile, Uribe’s Republican opponent threatened to shoot him last week."

Keeping our own tongues firmly in cheek, we checked into the claim.

Uribe's spokesman, Harold Cook, traced Patterson's threat to an item in the online Quorum Report.

In the Jan. 4 item, Patterson notes that he and Uribe both appeared in "The Alamo," a movie. Patterson wrote, according to the report: "Hector's a friend and fellow actor. We were both in the recent movie ‘The Alamo’, filmed near Austin, albeit on different sides in the conflict (actually Hector had a real part, I was just an extra). When Hector surrendered at San Jacinto, I should have shot him when I had the chance... "

"I hope folks understand then we were just acting, now it's a real war," the item quotes Patterson saying.

Contacted later, Patterson — who once helped pass Texas' concealed-weapon law — said he was joking about any shooting.

"If it's not tongue-in-cheek stuff, that's a criminal offense," Patterson said. "You're not supposed to threaten people. Does this put me on the (federal) no-fly list?"

Probably not. Especially when it's all just in good fun — and he didn't really make a threat. He just expressed ex post facto regret.

This is why we love Texas politics. Where else would a (pretend) gunfight spill into a (real) race for land commissioner? And where else would we get to fact check a claim like this one?

For making us laugh and for reminding us not to take this stuff too seriously, we give Uribe's claim that he was threatened a rating of Pants on Fire. And we suggest that all guns remain holstered for the rest of the campaign.

Featured Fact-check

Our Sources

Interview, Harold Cook, Hector Uribe campaign, Jan. 11, 2010

Interview, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Jan. 11, 2010

Press release, Hector Uribe Campaign, "In Stunning Move, Land Commissioner Candidate Hector Uribe Already up on Statewide TV," Jan. 11, 2010

The Quorum Report, "I SHOULD HAVE SHOT HIM WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE!!!," Jan. 4, 2010

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