Former state solicitor general Ted Cruz pulled off a surprise challenge to Texas Lt Governor Dewhurst last night and the Senate race now heads to a runoff. With 40% of the vote reporting- David Dewhurst held a 47% to 32% advantage…failing to garner the 50% plus one to avoid a runoff. One year ago very few people knew who Ted Cruz was, but just about all Texas voters knew of Lt Gov Dewhurst. Dewhurst used millions of dollars of his own fortune and relied on name recognition in an effort to win what was thought to be a cake-walk for the Texas senate seat. Ted Cruz was endorsed by conservative stalwarts from around the country, which included: Senator DeMint, Sarah Palin, Freedom Works, Senator Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, The Conservative Cloakroom and many others.
In a desperate attempt to cast doubt on Ted Cruz the moderate Dewhurst spent millions on untrue commercials in the final weeks of the campaign. One of the commercials was a Moveon.org style retread commercial that lied about Ted Cruz's connection to a Chinese manufacturing lawsuit. In the waning days of the campaign Team Dewhurst flat-out lied about Ted Cruz supporting amnesty for illegals. Most Texans are not stupid enough to believe that the same Ted Cruz who successfully defended Texas' right to execute an illegal alien for the rape and murder of two Texas teens is somehow weak on illegal immigration. David Dewhurst supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, waffled on the border fence, and refused to pass legislation fining Texas employers who hire illegal immigrants.
The runoff will be held July 31 and if history is to be a guide Ted Cruz could have a slight advantage. Most runoff elections have a low turnout and it's usually the diehard voters that participate in those elections. Dewhurst no doubt received thousands of votes because many voters simply recognized his name on the ballot and those types of voters aren't usually the ones that turnout for runoffs. Ted Cruz cannot and will not take this for granted because he knows David Dewhurst will say or do anything and spend millions of his own money to win this election. Texas and the country cannot afford another moderate in the U.S. Senate.