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Associated Press
Republican Texas lieutenant governor candidates from left, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Sen. Dan Patrick, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples listen to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst answer a question during a debate at KERA studios in Dallas, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero,Pool)

GOP candidates vow changes after brain-dead mother

– The removal of a brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman from life support has four influential Republicans running for lieutenant governor agreeing again, this time that a judge erred and they'd tighten state law so it doesn't happen in the future.

But the first statewide televised debate Monday night in Texas' most competitive primary also revealed new distinctions – and new attacks. It comes with fewer than six weeks left in a race among four big-name Republicans, all of whom are almost ideologically identical.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and state Sen. Dan Patrick all say a state judge made a mistake by ordering Marlise Munoz and her 23-week-old fetus off life support.

It was the first statewide televised debate. The primary is March 4.

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