Tea Party-backed candidate wins Texas Republican nomination for U.S. Senate seat

PoliticsElectionsRepublican PartyTea Party MovementRick PerryU.S. Senate

Tea Party-backed candidate Ted Cruz on Tuesday night upset Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win the Texas Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the GOP's Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Dewhurst had taken the lion's share of votes in the initial primary election, but Cruz managed to close that gap leading up to the runoff Tuesday night.

Cruz, 41, of Cuban descent, had embraced an endorsement for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. He said a grass-roots effort among conservatives accounted for his burst in popularity and the upset.

Dewhurst, the establishment candidate backed by Gov. Rick Perry, had said he believed here were "more Dewhurst voters in Texas than Cruz voters."

Dewhurst, the third-longest sitting lieutenant governor in history, said he felt "real good" heading into the polls.

In November, Cruz will face former state Rep. Paul Sadler, the winner of the Democratic runoff against Grady Yarbrough. Cruz is expected to be a heavy favorite in the general election.

Republicans have not lost a statewide election in Texas since 1994.

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