State senator Dan Patrick channeled his very best middle school girl over the weekend, emailing all thirty of his colleagues in the Senate to accuse state senator John Carona of spreading malicious rumors about the Patrick marriage.

“I was in Dallas last week and learned that Senator Carona has told people outside the Senate that Jan and I are separated and may get divorced. He added in a few other negative comments about me in an obvious attempt by him to discredit me for some reason,” Patrick, R-Houston, wrote in his 1,055-word screed.

Patrick said he first heard someone was spreading such a rumor two months ago. He went on to defend his 37-year marriage and asked Carona to apologize:

If we were in session I would be justified in asking for a personal privilege speech and demanding an apology on the floor. However, I prefer to handle this internally and that is the purpose for this email. First, while I shouldn’t have to say this to any member, he has put us in a position that I have to be sure everyone knows the story is patently false. If anyone tells you this story is true I hope you will call them out for spreading this lie. This must stop now. … John needs to call or write Jan and apologize immediately. If he wants to apologize to me that is up to him.

Carona, R-Dallas, fired back with a 226-word reply on Sunday night, slamming Patrick for taking the nuclear option of emailing everyone in the Senate:

Though I have heard rumors regarding your marital status and sexual preferences for a while now, at no time have I told anyone that you are either separated, divorced, or gay. These are private matters between you, your family, and your minister and none of us wishes to engage in the public discussion that you have now commenced. … Call me cynical, but I believe your motivation for pulling this stunt centers around your paranoia over the 2014 Lt. Governor’s Race (for which you appear to have declared candidacy) and your concern that no other Senate Republican emerge as a threat to your ambitions. As you know, if you truly believed I had said something unflattering, you could have simply asked.  I’ve never been shy about sharing my dislike and distrust of you. Put bluntly, I believe you are a snake oil salesman; a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.

Inevitably, the exchange was leaked to the Quorum Report, leaving many political junkies cackling, as the Senate has long prided itself on being the more mature, dignified chamber of the state’s bicameral body.

Carona has expressed interest in being named lieutenant governor if David Dewhurst ascends to fill Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in the U.S. Senate, the Texas Tribune‘s Ross Ramsey pointed out. Patrick has indicated he may run for the position in 2014.