Should Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) lose in the Kentucky Republican primary against Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin or the state’s general election, Texas will become home to both the top-ranking Republican senator and one of its most popular, anti-establishment voices.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is the the No. 2 Republican behind McConnell, while Ted Cruz arguably has the most support of the conservative and Tea Party grassroots of the Republican party.
Ross Ramsey, the managing editor of the Texas Tribune, wrote in the New York Times that Cornyn “is a senator from central casting, with the white hair and the soft face.”
“An establishment guy, second in the United States Senate’s Republican hierarchy, the go-to guy for the White House during the Bush years and now a leader in the resistance to the Obama White House. He is a corporate type — the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,” he writes of Cornyn.
Cruz, the “other fellow,” is “younger, but did all of the things an establishment politician might do: Princeton, Harvard Law, a clerkship at the United States Supreme Court, a stint as an appellate lawyer for the state attorney general’s office. Son of an immigrant, great student, debater and so on.”
“But he is a firebrand, an unlikely pinup for populist conservatives, a hero to them as much for whom he beat and the way he won as for his politics,” Ramsey writes. “Mr. Cruz, unknown two years ago, is now the state’s most popular Republican. He’s a national news figure, a contestant in the current prospecting phase of the 2016 presidential contest.”
Cruz has not endorsed Cornyn yet, but Ramsey notes that “the elections next year could bear odd and unexpectedly powerful fruit, leaving Texas with the hottest Republican in the Senate and the highest-ranking one, too.”