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Texas Senate Showdown: Four Days to Go

by: Ben Sherman

Fri May 25, 2012 at 10:00 AM CDT

96 hours until we may know which Republican candidate will misrepresent us in the Senate.

Their primary sure is heating up, GOP-style. A week ago, newly released fundraising numbers showed that Dewhurst and Cruz have eached raised the same amount of money - $6.1 million in the latest, giving numerical backing to the obvious: this is getting close.

Polls show a runoff is entirely possible, and even likely. A UT/Texas Tribune poll released May 21 shows the race at Dewhurst 40 - Cruz 31 - Leppert 17 - James 4. A Public Policy Polling survey taken between Tuesday and Wednesday found the race standing at Dewhurst 46 - Cruz 29 - Leppert 15 - James 3. The recent BOR poll shows the race at Dewhurst 43 - Cruz 30 - Leppert 14 - James 5.

Yesterday, Cruz got a piping hot endorsement from Rick Santorum. "Ted Cruz is spellbinding, a tremendous orator and principled," Santorum said on Glenn Beck's radio show. "We need people who can motivate and lead ... Ted has that capability."

Fully disagreed. Nevertheless, let's move on. We know that Cruz has tea bags like Santorum soaking every inch of his public image (for apparently no other reason than he's the most viable candidate to beat an incumbent). What we don't know is whether he can force a runoff against Dewhurst by keeping him under 50%.

My guess is that there will probably be a runoff. While Cruz isn't all that exciting himself, he's unquestionably capturing the vote of the attention-paying "Tea Party" Republicans. And Tom Leppert is siphoning off a sizable chunk of DFW voters and business-minded Republicans. Dewhurst seems to know this is a close fight: "I'm confident that we'll be the top vote-getter," he said Wednesday night. "As long as I'm the top vote-getter I'm happy with the results." In politician-speak, that means he's pretty damn sure there'll be a runoff. And Dewhurst hasn't been sitting on his hands; he's been attacking Cruz for months and recently started going after Tom Leppert.

The Dewhurst  campaign made a website, LiberalTomLeppert.com, doing the obvious and attacking the big-city mayor for a "liberal" record. To match the negative with the positive, Dewhurst even has a new ad out featuring Mike Huckabee praising his "conservative" record.

A runoff will be brutal and enjoyable, as such GOP affairs are wont to be. The Republicans might as well save their breath though; any of their candidate would be a perfect nominee to represent their party. Obedient corporate whores and bad Texans. Harsh words. Oh, to live in a world where they weren't dead-on.


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