Update 10:30PMThe race has long been called, but Cruz continues to increase his margin as the night goes on. He now leads Dewhurst 55-45% with over half of the vote counted. And Palin, who Cruz attributes much of his name-recognition boost and fundraising upticks, had this to say in her congratulation note to Cruz: " Our goal is not just about changing the majority in the Senate. It is about the kind of leadership we want. Ted Cruz represents the kind of strong conservative leadership we want in D.C. Go-along to get-along career politicians who hew the path of least resistance are no longer acceptable at a time when our country is drowning in debt and our children's futures are at stake." Well said, Governor
Ted Cruz did a Rubio in Texas and pulled off a yearlong campaign to go from unknown candidate to US Senate nominee. Though he lost the first round by more than 10 points, Cruz used that momentum to sprint to the finish line. The race was called for Cruz with a quarter of the vote as he led Dewhurst 54-46%. Dewhurst's overwhelming money advantage couldn't outlast inevitability, and, perhaps a little help from some friends.
Sarah Palin made her 4th endorsement win of the year in contested Senate primaries. She backed tea party candidates in three of the races, including in Nebraska where she vaulted Deb Fischer to victory. In that race, the tea party had preferred a separate candidate while there was also, of course, an establishment type. In Indiana she backed Richard Mourdock over Lugar. Palin was perhaps the most enthusiastic and involved name in the Texas Senate race, and Cruz made sure to use her to his full advantage. It worked. Palin's 4th endorsement, in Utah, was actually for Orrin Hatch, a target of many major tea party organizations and individuals. Or, perhaps it's just a coincidence that the only tea party candidate that didn't survive also didn't get the thumbs up from Palin.
The best news for conservatives is that the conservative revolution that began in 2009 is still going strong. While the tea party has been falsely derided as an anti-Obama movement, the truth is the first electoral losses always come from within the Republican Party. Just as they ousted one incumbent or establishment pick after the next in 2010, that trend is continuing this year. The naysayers said the tea party was a one year deal that would fade away, but it sure does look to be here for the long haul.