Tea Party favorite Cruz '92 advances to runoff in Texas senate race
Ted Cruz ’92, the former solicitor general of Texas and a darling of Tea Party conservatives nationwide, prevented Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst from eclipsing 50 percent of the vote Tuesday night in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, forcing a runoff between the two men in late July.
By Texas state law, if no candidate earns a majority of the votes cast, the primary advances to a one-on-one contest between the two top vote-getters. Dewhurst, a heavy favorite until a late surge by Cruz, earned roughly 45 percent of the vote, five points shy of winning the nomination outright. Cruz won about 34 percent of the votes cast; the rest of the vote was split mostly between former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former ESPN football analyst Craig James.
Many political commentators have noted that the battle between Dewhurst and Cruz will pit the political power players in the state against grassroots, Tea Party elements of the party. Dewhurst has the backing of the traditional Republican establishment in Texas, including current Texas governor Rick Perry.
Cruz, on the other hand, has been endorsed by several prominent conservatives including Sarah Palin, Rick Santorumand the Tea Party Express, a national political action committee.
Among Cruz’s supporters is politics professor Robert George, who said he too saw something unique in Cruz when Cruz was an undergraduate.
“He was the kind of student who stood out very strongly,” George told The Daily Princetonian in February. “All of Ted’s teachers had the sense of someone going somewhere. He was extremely intelligent and driven to work hard.”
Between the candidates and outside groups, more than $25 million has been poured into the Republican Senate primary already with the spending expected to accelerate leading up to the runoff on July 31.
At Princeton, Cruz was a top national debater and a Wilson School major.