by James Muñoz / KENS 5
Posted on March 21, 2014 at 8:18 PM
Updated today at 9:23 PM

KERRVILLE -- Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Republican rival state Sen. Dan Patrick made a rare appearance together in advance of their Texas Primary runoff election coming up May 27.

The Republican Women of Kerr County hosted the 30-minute forum with topics spanning from water usage to education, but illegal immigration and border security seemed to most interest the audience of 200.

"We have seen millions cross this border, including hardened criminals. As your lieutenant governor, it is my No. 1 priority," Patrick said. "I will secure that border. I will put all the resources needed to secure that border. We’ll never do it 100 percent, but can do it 75 or 80 percent."

When Patrick criticized the state for having to apprehend 1.1 million undocumented immigrants from 2007 to 2012, Dewhurst said the resources were in place to secure the border.

"We’ve appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars. We have the assets now on the border. We just ran an empirical exercise -- you don’t have to take my word for it -- we’ve done it," Dewhurst said.

The candidates also responded to questions about immigration reform and in-state tuition for undocumented resident students.

"Yes, as soon as we shut down the border, we are going to have to address the people that are here illegally," Dewhurst said.

Patrick won the most votes March 4, but he did not exceed the 50 percent threshold needed to claim the Republican nomination.

Patrick is a Tea Party favorite and said his conservative record will win voters May 27.

"I’m serious about this issue, folks. This is the lifeblood of Texas. Not until we secure the border -- for your safety and the safety of Texas -- will we ever have illegal immigration reform legislation passed in Washington and finally open up our legal immigration pathways, which we should all have," Patrick said.

Dewhurst has served as Texas lieutenant governor since 2003. He said he's gotten the job done and will continue defending traditional values.

The winner in May faces Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in November.