The Texas U.S. Senate primary is the latest in a long line of important benchmarks for the Tea Party movement. Like Indiana and Nebraska before it, Texas is an opportunity for a Tea Party-backed conservative (Ted Cruz) to defeat the establishment choice (Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst).
According to recent polling, Dewhurst is hovering just under the 50% mark. If Tuesday’s results mirror the polls, there will be a run-off, giving Cruz the chance to challenge the establishment candidate mano-a-mano.
This matters. If the Tea Party can’t be successful in a conservative state like Texas, how can it expect to continue its relevancy? Also, what would an establishment victory say about Sen. Jim Demint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, which is still smarting from a defeat in Nebraska? So much is at stake for conservatives.
But more important to me is what the loss would mean for the nation. Ted Cruz is an impressive figure, a Princeton and Harvard Law graduate and the son of a Cuban refugee. He’s argued before the Supreme Court as Texas Solicitor General and clerked for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Cruz also supports a balanced-budget amendment.
The Republican party needs more candidates like Ted Cruz. He’s smart, not a career politician, and not a really old white guy. Let’s pray that Ted Cruz is one of the first in a long line of smart, conservative candidates to join the U.S. Senate.
For more on the battle for the senate, take a listen to this edition of my podcast, where I discuss the Texas primary and whether the GOP will take back the Senate in November.
UPDATE: The race is heading for a July 31 runoff.