January 19, 2012
By Erin Mulvaney
(Reuters) - The fierce battle between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans for control of the party is on full display in the Texas race for the U.S. Senate this year, and the outcome could have national consequences.
David Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor since 2003, represents the establishment wing of the party in the first Texas open U.S. Senate race in a decade.
He is challenged by former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, who is stealing the hearts of Tea Party groups around the country. Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is retiring.
No Democrat has won statewide office in Texas since 1994, so the victor in the Texas Republican primary will likely be coronated in the November general election....
Southern Methodist University Political Scientist Cal Jillson said the race is Dewhurst's to lose, even with the traction Cruz has gained among tea party groups.
"The Tea Party enthusiasm has waned," Jillson said. Cruz "is a talented, intelligent, articulate guy, but he has not run for public office ... Plus, campaigning in Texas is an expensive enterprise."