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Primary Deal Will Have Implications for Texas Senate Race Primary Deal Will Have Implications for Texas Senate Race

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Politics

Primary Deal Will Have Implications for Texas Senate Race

December 16, 2011

A tentative agreement between Texas Democrats and Republicans has been struck to move the state's primaries from March 6 to April 3, presenting some intriguing implications for the GOP Senate primary.

Last week's Supreme Court decision to grant a stay on an interim redistricting map in the state thrust the primary calender into a state of uncertainty. Texas is slated to hold its primary early in the year and the fight over the new map threatened to disrupt the normal timetable, prompting speculation the primary could be split into two, with unaffected statewide primaries going in March and affected races going later, or, as now appears likely, everything being moved.

What does it all mean for the GOP Senate primary?

If the deal stands, it means another month for underdog candidates Ted Cruz and former Dallas Tom Leppert to build name ID and pick up more steam. But lengthening the race by a month also stretches out the TV battle. Frontrunning Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is flush with cash, has already gone up on the air (as has Leppert) while Cruz still hasn't. Dewhurst and Leppert are also both putting a substantial amount of their own money into their campaigns, something Cruz can't do.

So while Cruz -- whose strategy appears to be holding any buys until later in the race -- might not have to get up on TV as quickly as he planned, he'd also face another month during which time the two better-funded candidates could continue to raise their profile by staying on TV.

The deal also means the presidential primary will take place on the same day as all of the other primaries. Whether Gov. Rick Perry will still be in the race at that point is uncertain.

If there is a runoff -- which would be triggered if no candidate achieves over 50 percent in the primary -- it would be held on June 5.

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