AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Tea party-backed Republican Ted Cruz has won the race for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat.
Cruz beat former Democratic state representative Paul Sadler. The ex-state solicitor general was heavily favored since Texas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.
He succeeds retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Cruz has become a national sensation since his upset July victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win the Republican senatorial nomination. That race was seen as a national test of the tea party's influence because Cruz painted the mainstream GOP choice Dewhurst as too moderate.
Cruz has since mended fences with state GOP leaders and says he'll work with both parties in Congress.
He wants to build a wall the length of the Texas-Mexico border and abolish three federal departments.