Ted Cruz overtakes David Dewhurst: Underdog pulls ahead
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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