Ted Cruz, Tea Party Dominate Texas Republican Primary Politics
HOUSTON, Texas—The clear winner in the 2014 Republican Primary and runoff election is the grassroots effort spawned by the Tea Party, no matter what candidates win. Every candidate on the ballot has shaped their campaign around illustrating their support of the Tea Party principles of limited government, reducing taxes and fiscal responsibility.
The other big winner in this Primary election is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). His election in 2012 ignited Tea Party activists across Texas who have worked for the past two years to find viable candidates and support them through this long election process. Nearly every candidate on the ballot has tried to find some way of connecting themselves to Ted Cruz and the Tea Party movement by using quotes from or pictures with the prominent junior senator from Texas.
The Dallas Morning News reported, “In virtually every Republican matchup, candidates have espoused the movement’s talking points, attended groups’ forums, and adopted their issues.” The Houston Chronicle also picked up this theme and reported, “Though the tea party has sputtered this year in elections around the country, Texas' conservative insurgents are the front-runners in Republican primary runoffs for major statewide offices and positioned to bolster their ranks in the Legislature.”
In the race to be the next Lt. Governor of Texas, both the incumbent, David Dewhurst and his challenger, State Senator Dan Patrick, have claimed Tea Party support in their speeches and advertisements. Both candidates have also succeeded in gaining support from the various grassroots groups across Texas.
The same is true in the race to succeed Greg Abbott as the next Attorney General of Texas. State Senator Ken Paxton has been a clear leader in the Tea Party movement since its inception in 2009 while his opponent, former AFL-CIO union group lobbyist and State Representative Dan Branch has struggled to attempt to show Tea Party support.
Reuters reports, “Republican politics in Texas has become a race to the right," Republican strategist Bill Miller said. "I do think the Republican Party could be eclipsed by the Tea Party here."
State Senate District 10 candidate Konni Burton has leveraged her Tea Party relationships to place herself in a strong position for victory in this election. The Tea Party News Network reported, “The other race within the state that signals the strength of the Tea Party in Texas is the race to fill the state senate seat formerly occupied by Wendy Davis, currently the Democrat gubernatorial nominee. Konni Burton, a Republican and Tea Party leader from Fort Worth, has been endorsed by Ted Cruz in the race for that vacated seat.”
The exception to the potential Tea Party Texas takeover may be the race for the Congressional seat that has been held by Ralph Hall for thirty-six years. According to a report by Reuters, “Congressman Ralph Hall, a 91-year-old lawmaker running for an 18th term, is favored over his Tea Party-backed challenger, John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. Attorney.” Reuters stated Ratcliffe, age 48, has attempted to use Hall’s age against him. Much like Ronald Reagan who refused to use his opponent’s youth and inexperience against him, Hall has joked about his wrinkles he earned from battling liberal policies.“ Hall said, "By gosh, I've got room for a few more wrinkles."
The full extent of the Texas takeover by Tea Party politics may become clear quickly after the polls close at 7 p.m. (CDT). Breitbart Texas will provide extensive coverage and analysis of election results as they become available.
Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX