Tea Party Candidate Cruz Defeats Dewhurst in Texas Senate Race
In a stunning upset, former Texas Solicitor General, Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-TX), a multimillionaire rancher who spent nearly $20 million of his own fortune and who was backed by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and the entire Republican establishment up and down the line. Cruz' margin was 55% to 45%. This win will send shock waves across the country showing that the tea party is alive and well.
Cruz' victory will get a ton of media attention today but for purposes of controlling the Senate, it is less important than Richard Mourdock's win in the Indiana senatorial primary earlier this year. Texas is so red and the Democratic nominee, Paul Sadler, so weak, that any Republican could easily win the general election, whereas the tea party upset in Indiana actually gives the Democrats a shot at winning the seat.
When (not if) Cruz joins the Senate, he will become part of the informal caucus of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), which includes Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and others. They will make governing much harder, no matter who is President and which party controls the Senate. If Mitt Romney is elected President, he is not going to govern as a tea party candidate. Nothing in his background suggests that he really believes much of what he said during the primaries. He clearly knows that to get anything done, he is going to need the cooperation of the Senate Democrats lest they block (if they have the majority) or filibuster (if they don't) all his legislation. DeMint and friends regard compromising as selling out their principles, so the stronger they are, the more headaches they will give Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), whether he is minority leader or majority leader. If the Republicans end up with, say 53 seats (probably a best-case scenario for them) and DeMint, Lee, Paul, and Cruz oppose all his plans because they aren't radical enough and won't budge, McConnell, despite all his cloakroom maneuvering skills, will be stymied time after time.