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Tea-Party Favorite Surges in Texas Senate Race


The following ran in the July 30, 2012, edition of the Wall Street Journal. Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story. (subscription required)

August 2, 2012


AUSTIN, Texas—Tea-party favorite Rafael "Ted" Cruz is aiming to pull off an upset in a U.S. Senate primary runoff next week, aided by a rush of super PAC spending.

Just weeks ago, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appeared to have a comfortable lead in the race to become the Republican candidate—the main event in the conservative Lone Star State—after he finished first in the May primary. But his 10-point margin wasn't enough to avoid next Tuesday's runoff with Mr. Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general.

Now, against a backdrop of heavy spending by independent political-action committees, Mr. Dewhurst looks to be in the fight of his life. Recent polls suggest momentum has shifted to Mr. Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate and son of Cuban immigrants....

"Without the outside money, Cruz would not be in the race," said Cal Jillson, a political-science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas who still predicts Mr. Dewhurst will eke out a win....