Ted Cruz, the former solicitor general supported by the Tea Party, defeated long-time Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, R-Texas, in a primary runoff that effectively decides who will serve as the next U.S. Senator from Texas.
The Associated Press called the race for Cruz the first 22 percent of votes counted showed him with 53 percent support, as Roll Call noted, despite Dewhurst loaning himself over $24 million during the primary.
Cruz received strong support from Tea Party figures such as Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose Senate Conservatives Fund spent $1.3 million on behalf of Cruz and raised another $700,000 for his campaign.
“This is another victory for conservatives and it shows that the Tea Party can still defeat the Republican establishment if it wants to,” said Senate Conservatives Fund executive director Matt Hoskins. “This wasn’t a fluke. Ted Cruz was massively outspent in a state of 25 million people and he still won. If conservatives can win a race like this in Texas, they can win anywhere.”
Cruz burnished his anti-establishment credentials during the primary when he left the door open to opposing his home state’s senior senator the next time the Republican conference picks its Senate leadership. “I’m not going to prejudge,” Cruz said when asked about potentially supporting Cornyn for a leadership post.
That comment didn’t stop Cornyn from closing ranks around Cruz after the runoff results came in.
“With a strong, hard-working ally in Ted Cruz, we will work to pass a balanced budget amendment, remove the federal government’s boot off the neck of our small businesses, and repeal-and-replace ObamaCare,” said Cornyn, R-Texas, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I will do everything I can to help elect Ted Cruz in November and look forward to working with him next year.”
Democrats have little-to-no chance of pulling an upset against Cruz in Texas this year, but liberals nonetheless played the race card as part of a rapid response to his victory: Think Progress called Cruz and “Islamophobe” and said he “wants to party like it’s 1829″ — a reference to The Nullification Crisis.