Tea Party Candidate Ted Cruz Wins Texas Runoff Election
On Tuesday, first-time political candidate Ted Cruz defeated Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the Senate Republican runoff by more than 150,000 votes. Although he started his campaign relatively unknown nationally, his campaign eventually received endorsements from Tea Party favorites like Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul. Cruz is expected to win in November. This is the third Tea Party Republican to defeat an endorsed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in a primary this year.
Ted Cruz's victory has since received a great deal of media attention due to his extreme views on the death penalty, gay marriage, immigration, and Islam. Achy Obejas of WBEZ 91.1 called Cruz, who is Cuban-American, "the new conservative Latino cowboy in town," saying that "he's so extreme, he makes [Marco] Rubio look downright bipartisan."
After hearing about Cruz's victory, Democratic Senator Patty Murray explained, "I think the bigger issue there is that Mitch McConnell is now going to have a potentially much more Tea Party-oriented caucus and we have all seen the damage that has done to our ability to govern, to find compromise, to move this country forward in a positive direction."
Cruz received a significantly large amount of money, about $7.7 million, from outside groups. This Texas Senate race received more outside funding than any other Senate race so far this year. The Club for Growth Political Action Committee alone supported Cruz to the tune of $5.5 million. Some 17 outside organizations were involved in the campaign. The candidates also spent about $32 million of their own money; Dewhurst alone spent over $24 million.
Media Resources: WBEZ 8/3/12; NY Times 8/2/12; Washington Post 8/2/12; Mother Jones 8/1/12; CBS 8/1/12; USA Today 8/1/12; Open Secrets blog 7/31/12; Christian Science Monitor 7/31/12; Reuters 7/31/12