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U.S. Senate Race a GOP-Only Battle


The following is from the February 6, 2012, edition of The Texas Tribune. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

February 6, 2012

By Ben Philpott

While Texans wait for the courts to determine most of the state's political races, the candidates for U.S. Senate have begun a campaign blitz in the run-up to this spring’s primary.

The Democrats aren’t considered to have much chance at winning the seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. The front-runner in that primary is former state Rep. Paul Sadler.

"Sadler is going to be the Democratic nominee, but he's not going to have any momentum,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. “He'll have a lot of trouble fundraising. And his name will be on the ballot; if you don't want to vote Republican, you'll vote for Sadler. But I don't think he'll be a factor in the race."

So as it's been for the last several elections, the action is in the GOP primary. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is leading the race, and he has name recognition across the state — and plenty of money.

All this leads many, including Jillson, to say the race is Dewhurst's to lose. Jillson says only a stumble on the campaign trail could derail the inevitable.

“And that has to be more than the fact that he's not a natural, dynamic strong campaigner,” he said. “There has to be a real stumble that would bring him to negative attention broadly in the state. Otherwise, I think he's the prohibitive favorite."

Read the full story or listen to Ben Philpott's report for KUT News.

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