Though the MSM called this race a “tossup,” no one really watching the Texas Republican Senate contest was surprised when former state solicitor general Ted Cruz hammered Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by a 57/43 margin in a runoff yesterday. The smell of death has emanated from Dewhurst’s campaign ever since he was knocked into a runoff in May. The long runoff campaign (attributable to confusion over judicial review of Texas redistricting plans) made Dewhurst a sitting duck for the vast array of national conservative groups backing Cruz.
As I tried to explain in a TNR piece published last night, what makes the results so interesting is that the Texas race became a huge objective for movement conservatives nationwide even though Dewhurst really couldn’t be accused of ideological heresy. Much of it had to do with the desire to find another right-wing Hispanic prospect as a amulet against the demographic trends afflicting the GOP.
But the timing couldn’t be much worse in terms of the impact on Republicans in Washington. The closest thing to an actual offense against conservative orthodoxy committed by Dewhurst was his habit of talking to Democrats in the state legislature. The Cruz campaign pretty much demanded one-party government forever and ever. The Texas results will be used by the groups backing Cruz as a perpetual warning to GOP elected officials against any sort of compromise with godless liberals.
Meanwhile, the Cruz win was another low point in what’s turning out to be a really, really crappy year for Rick Perry and his political team of supposed geniuses. I’m fighting the shadenfreude temptation, but not very hard.