June 1, 2012
By Alex Seitz-Wald
Today’s GOP Senate primary in Texas has been described as a classic Tea-Party-versus-establishment contest, but a better way to look at it is the hard-right versus the very-hard right.
The establishment pick, in this case, is David Dewhurst, the state’s lieutenant governor, who has the backing of Governor Rick Perry and plenty of national name-brand Republicans, along with tons of money. But this is Texas, after all, and as Rice University political scientist Mark Jones told Salon, “David Dewhurst is no RINO.” Dewhurst would be among the more conservative members of the Senate, if elected, Jones said, noting he’d be well to the right of the seat’s current occupant, retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
A few notches farther to the right you’ll find, Ted Cruz, the state’s former solicitor general, who is Dewhurst’s main challenger in today’s primary. “Cruz is an ideologue,” Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson told Salon. “He would be decidedly more conservative than either [Texas Senator John] Cornyn or Dewhurst. They’re staunch conservatives, but at the end of the day, they’ll try to get something done.”...