From a “nationally known Republican consultant,” according to Paul Burka
If Ted Cruz wins the Senate race, Texas will be a purple state in four years.
Polls just closed here in Texas for the runoffs. At 6:52 PM, according to Miya Shay — KTRK reporter and Gene Wu’s fiancée — many voters were still in line at the West Gray Metropolitan Municipal Service Center. The line is expected to take 90 minutes to work its way to the voting machines: Ted Oberg, also of KTRK, reports nearly no drop off in turnout among Republican voters between the primary in May and today’s runoff. Kuff wonders wonders if the election day results matter when the races are essentially decided during the early vote period.
Wu, as I’ve mentioned once or twice. He leads the early vote + mail 449 to 214 (68 to 32). Feel free to try to figure out those votes based on turnout. If Wu is victorious, he will face M.J. Khan, meaning Texas will have another Asian American in the State House.
Katherine Haenschen ponders the possible outcome of the race:
Personally, I’ve debated internally for months over who I’d rather see win the primary, and likely take the seat in November. Dewhurst is less crazy, more grounded in what passes for factual evidence in the Republican Party of Texas these days. He’d be less embarrassing to our state in the US Senate. He’s more of a “statesman,” though at times his campaign has behaved so very irresponsibly that he should be blushing every time that ad about driving a young man to suicide airs on the TV.
A Cruz victory, on the other hand, would make soon-to-be senior Senator John Cornyn irrelevant, since Cruz could steal the limelight from Big John’s thinly-veiled flailing racism with his out-and-out 100% capital-C Crazy. A Cruz win would also keep Dewhurst in the pink dome presiding over the Senate, a welcome relief from the likely ascension of Senator Dan Patrick, who might gladly help pass a law requiring actual chastity belts given the make-up of the incoming Senate next year. Cruz would be only 1 of 100 in the US Senate and has absolutely zero governing experience. It’s unlikely he could get much done. Both of them would have near-identical voting records. And Cruz might be easier to knock out in 6 years if demographics and revitalized TDP organizing actually come to fruition. And maybe, just maybe, a Cruz win would scare moderates and corporate Republicans into recognizing what the Tea Party truly has wrought here in Texas.
I’m undecided on who I would prefer to see win. Ted Cruz is the teabagger in the race, and he has some disgusting support.
Dewhurst really has no accomplishments to speak of, as Burka rightly notes
It is unfortunate that Dewhurst is cast in the role of defender of the faith. The poor guy has nothing to offer except snuggling up to Rick Perry. He has been in office for ten years and has little to show for it except a decade of toadying to the governor. I can’t think of a single achievement Dewhurst can claim while in office that isn’t also a Perry achievement. Well, the property tax cut of 05-06 was driven by the lieutenant governor’s office. The problem with Dewhurst isn’t that he doesn’t get what is going on. He gets it. It’s that he doesn’t have the political will to do something about it. Hence, the about-face on using the Rainy Day Fund last session, after which angry senators told me on the Senate floor that if there had been a vote of confidence on Dewhurst, the tally would have been 31-0 against.
Maybe that’s why when Dewhurst uses three words to summarize himself he uses
“Results” is a good summary word. “Conservative” isn’t really one when running in a Republican primary, especially in Texas. And “Texas?” Do voters forget what state they’re in? Why would you waste a word on that? It’s even more shocking in the commercial. I would embed it here, but the Dewhurst campaign has set that YouTube video to private.
If you want another money quote on the race, look no further:
Make no mistake: the future of the Republican party is on the line in the Senate race. This is a “For Whom the Bell Tolls” moment. If Cruz wins, it means that powerful Washington interests with the ability to spend far more than our home-state politicians and sugar daddys, are poised to insert themselves into Texas politics and change its course. Even Perry understands this, which is why he is all-in for Dewhurst. What is going to stop the tea party and its deep-pockets national backers from taking over Texas politics with money that comes from outside the state? What is to stop them from uniting behind another Ted Cruz-like candidate to defeat Rick Perry’s bid for reelection. This is exactly what has happened in the Senate race, and it will continue to happen in future race.
For more on the race, take a look at the Houston Chronicle, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, this great discussion from NPR’s Talk of the Nation including UT professor Bruce Buchanan or the New York Times, which highlights Cruz’s star, Jonathan Krohnesque qualities:
Mr. Cruz expresses pride in his father for making it after fleeing Cuba with nothing in the 1950s, before Fidel Castro’s victory. He was recognized early as a prodigy, paid to give erudite speeches on free enterprise and Constitutional limits while still in high school.
At Princeton University he was a champion debater. He won high honors at Harvard Law and clerked for William H. Rehnquist, then the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He worked in a Washington law firm and then took federal posts in the administration of George W. Bush before returning to Texas for the appointed job of solicitor general, arguing cases before the Supreme Court.
But do the Republicans want Hispanics? Burka doesn’t seem to think so:
There is another aspect to the Dewhurst-Cruz battle, and it is the tendency of the mainstream Republicans to fail to act in their own best interests. It is stunning to me that Greg Abbott continues to harass Hispanics with Voter I.D. and purging the voter rolls: that he can’t see the damage it is doing to the party’s future. He is willing to trade long-term political gain for his party in return for short-term political gain for himself.
The tea party is an immediate threat but not a long-term one; it is a one-generation phenomenon, the last gasp of old angry uninformed white guys. Hispanics are a different story; they represent the future and without them the Republicans have no future. Does it change anyone’s thinking? Apparently not.
If anyone is looking for a Hispanic rising star, Ted Cruz isn’t the one. No, that rising star is Julian Castro, who will deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Remember what Obama said about Texas becoming a swing state? That may well involve Castro in a statewide race.
There’s also a Democratic primary runoff for US Senate between two off candidates. KTRK has an excellent story on the combined patheticness of the candidates:
We did reach out to both campaigns for comment today, but did not get a response from either.
Campaigns that don’t jump at the chance for free media attention in the largest city in the state are . . . well, what’s a stronger word than pathetic? Sadler doesn’t seem to have a campaign but should, and no one really knows what this Yarbrough guy is about. KT has more. I hope Sadler is using this round as a come back so he can have an effective races for one of the state-level statewide offices in 2014.
The Democratic Party, both in Texas and nationally, needs rising stars like Wu and Castro.
And for anyone who read this post because they thought this post was about the November 1991 WWF Pay-Per-View “This Tuesday In Texas,” enjoy Bret Hart applying the Sharpshooter to retain the Intercontinental Title: