(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Updated 9:43 p.m. | Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, a virtual political unknown only a year ago, has shocked the Texas political system and defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, according to the Associated Press.
Cruz had 53.6 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 46.4 percent at the time the AP called the race, with just 22.5 percent of precincts reporting. Although that result was widely anticipated in the final days of the campaign, it cannot be emphasized enough how much of a stunning development this is.
Texas is not akin to GOP Sen. Dick Lugar’s loss in Indiana or in states where a tea party insurgent knocked off a party favorite in 2010.
The media market is one of the most expensive in the country, and the money needed to travel the geographic expanse sets the Lone Star State apart from other states. And yet, Cruz and his coalition of national tea party figures and groups such as the Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund beat the odds.
Nearly every GOP state Senator and Gov. Rick Perry (R) backed Dewhurst. Perry campaigned vigorously on his behalf. Republicans in the state disagree over whether Perry’s failed effort for Dewhurst will show weakness.
Cruz is all but assured he will be elected to the Senate in the fall.
Updated 9:43 p.m.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, praised Cruz in a press release shortly after the race was called.
“Ted believes, as I do, that we need to make Washington DC look a little more like the great state of Texas, and that starts with restoring common-sense, conservative values in our nation’s Capital,” he said.
“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,” he added.
Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, said in a press release that Cruz “clearly articulated the pro-growth message that Republican voters across the country have responded to.”
The Club for Growth PAC spent more than $5.5 million in independent expenditures on the campaign, according to the release.