On Tuesday, Texas voters added another round to this Senate brawl. Ted Cruz's gambit to ride a wave of corporate Tea Party money (don't worry; that's not a contradiction anymore) all the way to a runoff against Dewhurst worked. The Lt. Governor was held at 44.6%, which is 5.4% fewer than what he needed to avoid a runoff.
Let more dogs out. Dewhurst previewed his runoff strategy at his morning-after press conference, telling reporters that Cruz is just "another lawyer funded by Washington special interests," and framing the race between "a lawyer who talks, a businessman who does." Dewhurst added: "If you like Texas, you're going to love what David Dewhurst is going to do for you in Washington," he said. Referring to himself in third-person is not the best strategy for a candidate who has almost no human characteristics, but at least Dewhurst knows he must inject some energy into his runoff candidacy.
Cruz told reporters that his strategy of "reaching out 18-hours a day, seven days a week to the grass roots activists of Texas" will not change for the runoff. He challenged Dewhurst to five debates before the July 31 runoff election. Dewhurst responded, "I don't know why Mr. Cruz would limit debating me. Is he scared? I'm not going to limit the debates I have with Mr. Cruz to only five." Cruz said he's fine with Dewhurst wanting to "up the ante" but added that the questions should come from voters, not "hand-picked moderators." We can expect a new round of ads and angles of attacks from both campaigns very soon.
Watch your head for the next nine weeks; Republican mud is about to be slung all over Texas.
For months, this series ignored Grady Yarbrough, who's running as a Democrat for Senate. On Tuesday, Yarbrough surprised many and gained enough votes to place second, earning him a spot in the runoff against Paul Sadler. Yarbrough is a perennial candidate who has run as a Democrat and a Republican before. He has no funding, nor an apparent website. His is not a serious candidacy, and so he did not earn the attention of this series or just about any other coverage of the Democratic primary.
How did he win 25.8% of the vote? Well, many may have wrongly assumed he's related to Ralph Yarborough, a progressive Texas senator from the mid-twentieth century. Second, none of the Democratic candidates had much money to communicate any sort of message. Many Democrats no doubt went into the booth and selected a name from their party's ticket. Addie Allen, a female candidate with similarly nonexistent money and messaging, earned 22.9% of the vote, with an undoubtedly significant component of that support coming from her female name. Sean Hubbard ran a worthy campaign with what resources he had, earning the endorsements of BOR and several other voices in Texas progressive politics, but ended up with only 16.1% of the vote.
Sadler vs. Yarbrough is no contest at all, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't come out and vote on July 31 for Sadler, a progressive expert on public education exponentially better prepared than any of the Republicans to be a worthy Texas senator.