Dewhurst a career politician?

David Dewhurst talks to state Sen. John Carona in May (Austin American-Statesman photo by Jay Janner).
David Dewhurst talks to state Sen. John Carona in May (Austin American-Statesman photo by Jay Janner).

What does it take to be a career politician?

Opponents of David Dewhurst, the Republican lieutenant governor who recently joined the 2012 field of candidates for a to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat, evidently think he’s got what it takes.

Republican Tom Leppert, the former Dallas mayor also running for the seat being given up by Kay Bailey Hutchison, reacted to Dewhurst’s July 19  declaration video: "It comes as little surprise to me that David Dewhurst has thrown his hat into the ring. Like other career politicians, he has long expressed his interest in a host of higher offices."

Leppert wasn’t alone issuing the characterization. U.S.Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, backing Ted Cruz in the Texas race, opened a July 26 statement issued by Cruz’s campaign: "Having grown up in Texas, I know Texans don’t want a career politician in the Senate..."

Paul, whose father, Ron Paul, is a long-time U.S. House member from Texas lately running afresh for president, didn’t specify Dewhurst by name. Yet his statement separately refers to what could only be Dewhurst’s personal wealth, which has buoyed his campaigns: "Right now, an establishment Republican with enormous personal wealth is running for Senate against Ted..."

Dewhurst, 65, won his first run for office, state land commissioner, in 1998.

Four years later, he was elected lieutenant governor; he was re-elected in 2006 and 2010. The job pays $7,200 a year, though Dewhurst gets temporary bumps by assuming gubernatorial duties every time Gov. Rick Perry is out of state.

So, he’s in his 13th year in office.

But he had jobs before entering politics, including time with the CIA and a business career during which he amassed his wealth.

Dewhurst is into his second (or third or fourth) career. But he’s also held office less than a third of his adult life. This led us to rate Leppert’s statement False.