Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R), who emerged from near obscurity to score a surprise GOP primary victory this summer, won a largely anticlimactic general election over Democrat Paul Sadler in the Texas Senate race Tuesday. The Associated Press called the race.
The protracted battle for the Republican nomination was widely viewed as the real campaign, with Cruz all but anointed as the next senator from the Lone Star State following his July 31 victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary runoff. Dewhurst began the campaign as a heavy favorite, thanks to his previous statewide runs, personal wealth and the backing of the state's GOP establishment.
Cruz united the support of the state's conservative grassroots movement, and he received financial backing from influential conservative groups like the Club for Growth. After Dewhurst failed to win a majority in the GOP primary, he faced Cruz, the initial second-place finisher, in a runoff. With two months to grow his name identification and continue to paint Dewhurst as a moderate, Cruz coasted to the nomination.
In the general election campaign, Sadler lacked the funds to adequately compete against Cruz, releasing his first television ad only a week before the general election. The Democrat claimed Cruz was too conservative for the state, but his candidacy attracted little attention.
Since winning the GOP primary, Cruz has emerged as a rising star in the GOP. He had a primetime speaking role at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and the young Cuban-American has drawn comparisons to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Cruz will replace Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who chose not to run for reelection.