Texas Runoff Election Results: Ted Cruz Wins, May Spark Summer of Tea Party Upsets


One man is endorsed by the likes of Governor Mike Huckabee and Governor Rick Perry, the other is backed by Governor Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Senator Rick Santorum.So is there really that much of a difference? 

This is the question, at least in terms of ideology, that not many Texans have been able to answer as incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz face off in a runoff for Texas’ newly vacant United States Senate seat.

Following the May elections, 44.6% of voters answered this question in favor of Dewhurst -- a veteran of both the Air Force and CIA, who built himself a successful business following voluntary service to his country. Extraneous opponents aside, Cruz came in second after collecting 34.23% of the vote for himself, despite Dewhurst's turning the Harvard lawyer’s nine trips to the U.S. Supreme Court into political fodder.

Academic pedigree and private sector experience aside, the real difference between the two candidates comes to life in their political past or lack thereof. Dewhurst, on the one hand, has used his network of Texas Republican power brokers in route to eight unbeaten elections to state office, whereas Cruz is making his first dive into electoral politics with this Senate seat -- thereby relying on Washington connections to financially pave the way.

In other words, there really isn’t much separating these two.

At least, Texas’ incumbent Senator John Cornyn doesn’t think so as he is still yet to endorse either candidate, because he believes their voting record would be the same 99 times out of a 100. So out of two ideological clones, who will be Texas’ next U.S. Senator?

Well, despite a 10 percent deficit at the late May election and no political campaigning experience, Cruz is going to pull this one out and turn both the pre-runoff deficit and Texas Republican establishment on their heads. Thanks to Cruz’s fervent grassroots support base (the typical ingredient for a runoff success), big name endorsements from Tea Party favorites (in what is looking to be an open hunting season for Tea Party challengers; e.g. Indiana and Nebraska), and loads of Washington money -- Cruz has this election in the bag. 

In all of the latest polls, aside from those sponsored by Dewhurst’s campaign (which have Dewhurst winning by eight points), Cruz is predicted to have anywhere from a five to ten point win, thereby scoring another one for the Tea Party as the anti-tax outfit continues its summer of success.

UPDATE Poll results have begun to trickle in. For the latest numbers, see PolicyMic's live coverage here.