Ted Cruz overtakes David Dewhurst: Underdog pulls ahead

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I was encouraged to come across a new poll showing conservative former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz pulling ahead of establishment moderate Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the race to be the Republican nominee for Texas's open U. S. Senate seat. Dewhurst finished first in the May 29 primary, but fell short of the required majority, with 45% to Cruz's 34%, so Dewhurst and Cruz will be on the July 31, 2012, runoff ballot.

The new PPP poll, taken on July 10 and 11, has Cruz at 49% and Dewhurst at 44%. This is a dramatic reversal from the same pollster's final pre-primary poll, which gave Dewhurst a commanding 59%-34% lead in a runoff with Cruz.

This reversal has happened despite Dewhurst's strong political pull and establishment support. The Lieutenant Governor is said by many to be the most powerful office in Texas, and anyone with interests at the State Capitol would be foolish not to endorse Dewhurst, as he would be in a position to punish them should he lose this election and remain as Lt. Governor. As http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/301055/will-fear-decide-texas-senate-race-katrina-trinkoNational Review's Katrina Trinko wrote back in May:

In Texas, the lieutenant governorship is a hugely powerful position. Its occupant is the leader of the state senate, meaning he appoints committee chairmen and members, determines the order in which bills are taken up, and decides which committees get to handle specific pieces of legislation.

At the very least, everyone has to be aware of the sway Dewhurst will have if he remains lieutenant governor. And according to state insiders backing Dewhurst's most prominent rival, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, it goes beyond that: They say the Dewhurst campaign has made it clear that those who want to see their legislation pass if Dewhurst remains lieutenant governor had better back Dewhurst for senate. The Dewhurst campaign denies this categorically.

One source familiar with Texas politics who supports Cruz says that he knows "a number of significant donors" who also have business interests in the state and have been "told by their lobbyists in Austin, 'Don't dare give money to Ted, don't endorse Ted . . . because if you do you'll never get anything else through in Austin.'"

So despite the leverage for arm-twisting and the list of endorsers that "reads like the Chamber of Commerce directory for the State of Texas" and includes public employees organizations/unions, Dewhurst's star is falling fast. Cruz, meanwhile, has donations from a broader array of Texans, plus endorsements from national conservative leaders and organizations, the troops on the front lines of the fight in Washington for fiscal sanity, traditional values, the sanctity of human life, 2nd Amendment rights, and a strong national defense.

Cruz's endorsers include FreedomWorks for America PAC, Club for Growth PAC, Eagle Forum PAC, Dr. James Dobson, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Pat Toomey, Sen. Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, former U. S. Attorney General Ed Meese, Phyllis Schlafly, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. When Dewhurst supporters said that Cruz was backed by Washington "insiders," Cruz replied, "I've got to say that if Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, James Dobson are DC insiders...hallelujah, we have truly turned this country around."

Cruz's big turnaround gives me hope in the Oklahoma 2nd Congressional District runoff. As in Texas, we have a big-money candidate, Markwayne Mullin, with backing from establishment, corporate-welfare types, versus a grassroots candidate, George Faught, who has the support of grassroots Oklahoma conservatives and national conservative leaders who want a principled, knowledgeable leader to help fight for the conservative cause in Washington.

Faught has endorsements from Mike Huckabee, Gary Jones, Phyllis Schlafly, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund, Family Research Council's Action PAC, Concerned Women for America PAC, David Barton of Wall Builders, and Mike Farris, head of the Home School Legal Defense Fund.

Last week Mullin was touting an endorsement from Doug Cox, arguably the most liberal Republican in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Cox frequently votes against pro-life legislation, supports government funding for Planned Parenthood, and was a leading advocate for a bill that would allow someone with a gender identity disorder to rewrite history by changing his birth certificate to match his delusions. What does it tell you that Doug Cox would rather have Mullin in Congress than George Faught, who helped to expose and defeat Cox's gender-bender bill?

Mullin's campaign is promoting an internal poll showing their man ahead by a margin similar to the lead Dewhurst held six weeks ago. Those numbers should change as conservative 2nd District voters take a closer look at Mullin's associations and backers. If Ted Cruz can turn those numbers around in six weeks, so can George Faught.

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5 Comments

OK Lawyer said:

As a lawyer with a civil suit against a convicted felon who posesses firearms and boasts about it on his twitter account, I think I would take a pass on Mullin. I know from experience the felon in posession charge is a complete non-starter for every police agency, though it violates state and federal law and in theory should be very easy to prosecute. For a non-violent offender, like my defendant, the cops are never going to do anything, and he knows it. To convicts, those who break the law so many times that they get caught, charged and convicted, an unenforced law is no deterent. They know exactly which laws they can break without consequence, and they act accordingly. I expect an elected official, especially one who will legislate federal law, to at least demonstrate he will comply with the laws we already have.

Tai said:

I don't think that I understand your statement: "big-money candidate, Markwayne Mullin, with backing from establishment, corporate-welfare types, versus a grassroots candidate, George Faught, who has the support of grassroots Oklahoma conservatives and national conservative leaders who want a principled, knowledgeable leader to help fight for the conservative cause in Washington."

Mullin is definitely big-money with a lot of support and Faught is knowledgeable, but what is meant by establishment support for Mullin? And is Faught really principled? I suppose it depends on which set of principles you prefer. The implication is that Mullin is the long-established candidate and poor Faught is working hard to find his place in politics. That is far from the truth.

We won't know until election night, but Mullin's internal polling has a good shot at being proven true. Too many people are tired of politics as usual; they are fed-up; they are tired of the mud-slinging; and they relate to Mullin's interests and passion.

Tai, if you look at his contributor list, you'll see most of the usual Chamber of Commerce / establishment type names from Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Mullin's campaign is being run by the same team that ran the Chamber's takeover of the Oklahoma City city council, pushed arena and river tax increases in Tulsa, recruited and ran candidates for the establishment's grab-back of the Tulsa city council, advised the Tulsa Metro Chamber on city redistricting to facilitate that grab-back, and produced the ludicrous State Senate gerrymander. That's who Mullin will listen to -- the corporate welfare crowd -- when it comes time to make decisions, since he doesn't appear to have the knowledge to make those decisions on his own. (Did you see the RSU debate?)

Mullin is at least as avid a politician as Faught. Mullin first talked about running for office in 2006 and actually filed the paperwork to start a run for State Labor Commissioner in 2010. Does a passionate outsider decide to claim an address a 100-minute drive away from his place of business so he can claim to live in the district he's running in, or is that the sort of thing a conniving politician would do?

The 2nd District needs a citizen legislator who brings both small business experience and legislative experience to the table. If the GOP is going to take over this seat, Republicans need a nominee who has a record of winning in a majority-Democrat district and who isn't ripe for attack by the Democrat nominee. Between his carpet-bagging, the issues with the ATF and the FEC, and his lack of knowledge on key issues facing the country, Mullin will be an easy target for a Democratic Party desperate to hold on to the seat. The nastiest dirt the Dems have on Faught is that he supports the Ryan budget plan and was endorsed by Mike Huckabee.

Tai said:

I didn't realize that you meant the Chamber of Commerce type donors when you referred to establishment. Thanks for clarifying.

I did see the RSU debate and thought it showed why these two candidates were at the bottom of the list when compared with all those who jumped in the race. Unfortunately, light and fluffy (pertaining to knowledge, principles, and substance) rose to the top in this race. I also thought the debate showed that neither of the candidates is a strong debater. The 'winner' in the debate tends to depend upon whom you support.

Maybe you could clarify the word politician for me. I always thought it was used to refer to someone who was involved in government, specifically in policy making. Talking and thinking about politics does not qualify under that definition, so I find it difficult to classify Mullin as an 'avid politician'.

So far, the so-called problems of Mullin haven't hurt him. I don't know that they will be significant in the general race either. They might be, but I know too many Democrats who are eager to have the opportunity to vote for Mullin. Obviously, we won't know until election night.

Whether the Democrats have dirt on Faught I don't know, but I do know that he is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many conservative Republicans with his negative campaigning.

Planning to run for office and running for office certainly qualify someone as a politician. I guess we watched a different debate, Tai. Mullin looked about as sharp as Woody on Cheers. The 2nd District has a choice between Mullin, who thinks you can cut government and repeal laws without introducing and passing legislation, and Faught, who has actually authored legislation in line with his conservative principles.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 13, 2012 11:26 PM.

Form-based codes, historic preservation design guidelines on TMAPC agenda was the previous entry in this blog.

Oklahoma 2nd District debate and update is the next entry in this blog.

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