Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers.
Score another victory for the Tea Party.
One-time long-shot candidate Ted Cruz completed his once nearly unthinkable upset Tuesday, winning the runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Texas over David Dewhurst, the state's lieutenant governor who had the backing of Rick Perry and a vast personal fortune behind his bid.
Cruz's win makes him the overwhelming favorite to win this November's general election for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who will retire at the end of this term. The Tea Party-favorite will now face off against Democrat Paul Sadler, a Texas state lawmaker who won his own runoff Tuesday. The Lone Star State has not sent a Democrat to the Senate in more than two decades.
The New York Times with the background on Cruz and Dewhurst:
A Harvard-trained lawyer, a former Washington official under President George W. Bush and the former solicitor general of Texas, Mr. Cruz had argued cases before the Supreme Court but never before run for office. He turned out to be a natural campaigner and with his implacable opposition to big government, he won the enthusiastic support of Tea Party activists in Texas and around the country.
His opponent was David Dewhurst, 66, a wealthy rancher and businessman who has held the powerful elected post of lieutenant governor for nine years and was endorsed by Mr. Perry and most other top party leaders as well as business and farm groups. Mr. Dewhurst will continue as lieutenant governor.
Cruz's runoff victory, in the words of the Washington Post, is "a remarkable political feat and arguably the Senate upset of the cycle." Dewhurst was regarded as a near lock to head to Washington when the campaign for the soon-to-be open seat began early last year. That changed, however, as Cruz—who has drawn comparisons to Sen. Marco Rubio, partly because his father emigrated to the United States from Cuba—began to rally supporters. As the chances of the upset became more likely, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and others traveled to Texas to campaign for Cruz.