In an upset of national significance, Ted Cruz toppled Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday in a Republican primary runoff for the U.S. Senate that came to embody the internal tug-of-war between the GOP establishment and the tea party.
Cruz, a former state solicitor general who has never held elected office, became a national cause célèbre for tea party activists.
He received significant support from conservative groups and leaders, including former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who cast Dewhurst as a squishy, tax-and-spend moderate.
Dewhurst’s substantial financial resources — he put $24.5 million of his personal fortune into the race (and later reimbursed himself $5.5 million from contributions) — and support from top Texas Republicans such as Gov. Rick Perry could not overpower the grass-roots tea party enthusiasm for Cruz.
Hundreds of Cruz supporters packed a Houston hotel ballroom to cheer their candidate, whom few voters knew when he started his upstart campaign last year.
“They said I couldn’t do it. You know what? They were right. I couldn’t do it, but you could. And you did. Tonight is a victory for the grass roots,” Cruz said during his victory speech.
“This is how elections are supposed to be decided, by ‘We the People.’ ”
No one, but no one would have predicted this one a month ago. I’m not surprised. Texas is fed up with politics as usual. Prezzy Hopey Changey might want to take note…Texas will go blood red in November (not pink).