DALLAS (AP) — Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick has appeared with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, burnishing his tea party credentials ahead of a GOP primary runoff against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

A devout Christian, Patrick founded the tea party caucus in the Texas Legislature. He's a natural fit for Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister.

Huckabee ran for president in 2008 and may again in 2016. On Thursday, he called Patrick "uniquely qualified" to become lieutenant governor.

Patrick beat Dewhurst during the March 4 Republican primary for lieutenant governor, but didn't win a majority in a race featuring four top candidates.

An appearance with Huckabee could suggest Patrick wants to become Texas' top tea party voice now that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is a national sensation.

But Patrick dismissed that notion.

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