Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz is closing the gap on established frontrunner Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Texas, according to a new poll.
The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that 40 percent of likely voters support Dewhurst whereas 31 percent back Cruz to fill U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat. Insurgent candidates such as Cruz have been scoring big wins against established Republicans like Dewhurst.
Daron Shaw, a UT-Austin government professor and co-director of the poll, told Texas Tribune that in only a year, Cruz has successfully positioned himself to the right of the lieutenant for the May 29 primary. Conservative challenger Cruz, the former Solicitor General, was endorsed by Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint.
In Nebraska, Palin backed outsider state Senator Deb Fischer who went on to defeat state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg in the Republican primary for an open U.S. Senate seat. A similar outcome played out in the Indiana Senate race when longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar was defeated by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the primary race.
In the Texas race, if a candidate does not secure 50 percent of the vote, the primary goes to a June runoff.
"If they're in a runoff, Dewhurst is in trouble," Shaw told the Texas Tribune.
by RTT Staff Writer
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