David Dewhurst defeated in GOP runoff for U.S. Senate

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by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 at 11:07 PM

HOUSTON -- Under the Texas Constitution it's the lieutenant governor who's the most powerful lawmaker in Texas, but this race put that to the test.

Despite a $25 million campaign, including $16.5 million of his own money, David Dewhurst lost to an opponent who was relatively unknown just eight months ago.

"These are the grassroots activists. These are the conservatives of Texas, and we have seen conservatives all over the state unite behind this campaign," Dewhurt's opponent Ted Cruz (R) said.

Both have benefitted from millions of dollars in negative ads paid for by conservative super pacs and have enlisted support from conservative icons.

Governor Perry supported Dewhurst. Tea Party superstar Sarah Palin supported Ted Cruz.

Policy-wise, both candidates match up on nearly every issue.

"The main theme of this race has been, 'What kind of conservative do you want, and who is the most conservative along those lines?'" said Texas Politics Project Director and University of Texas professor Jim Henson.

For lawmakers in Austin, much more depended on the outcome than a seat in the Senate. 

"There's a lot of pent-up demand for statewide office in the Republican Party. You've got a handful of people sitting on large buckets of money that they want to pour into campaigns in an effort to move up. If Dewhurst winds up losing this race and staying on as lieutenant governor, it creates a lot of frustration," Henson said.

With a relatively modest $9 million campaign, Cruz managed to push Dewhurst from a double-digit lead to trailing in many polls and win the election.

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