Federal Politics

Published — July 31, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Super PACs help tea party candidate win Senate runoff in Texas

Tea party favorite Cruz upsets Dewhurst

Introduction

In a Texas-sized spending battle that attracted more than $14 million in outside money, Ted Cruz upset the party establishment favorite Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the in the state’s contentious Republican primary runoff election for U.S. Senate.

Cruz, a tea party favorite and former Texas solicitor general, beat Dewhurst 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent according to election returns as of Wednesday morning. The race was easily the most expensive congressional primary fight this election.

Dewhurst, owner of an energy company, outraised Cruz 3-1, having brought in more than $33 million — $25 million from his own pocket. Of that sum, Dewhurst gave his campaign about $8.5 million just in the last three weeks of the runoff.

Cruz raised $10.2 million, with $1.4 million of coming from the candidate.

But super PAC and other outside spending was more balanced and arguably made the difference. Pro-Cruz groups spent about $8 million while pro-Dewhurst groups spent roughly $6.5 million this election cycle.

Cruz and Dewhurst are fighting for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Pro-Cruz advertisements linked Dewhurst to the Texas GOP establishment, attacking the lieutenant governor’s political career and touting Cruz’s political inexperience as evidence of principled conservatism.

The runoff attracted more spending than the May 29 primary, where Dewhurst failed to win the majority necessary to avoid a runoff.

Spending by outside groups rose dramatically once it became a two-man race. All outside groups spent approximately $6.5 million ahead of the May 29 primary and about $8 million since.

Cruz, a Harvard graduate and high-profile attorney, outshined Dewhurst’s measured delivery in the past two weeks’ debates and campaign appearances, according to Southern Methodist University’s Cal Jillson.

“Cruz is a very articulate lawyer,” Jillson said. “The debates between the two have shown Cruz at his best.”

The anti-tax group Club for Growth Action spent more than $5.5 million to help elect Cruz, far more than it has spent on any race thus far, nearly all of it ripping into Dewhurst.

Tea party kingmaker Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., played a major role. The senator converted his leadership PAC to a super PAC. The group, now known as the Senate Conservatives Action Fund, spent about $1.3 million. FreedomWorks for America, another tea party group, spent more than $470,000.

Dewhurst also benefited from super PAC spending. Texas Conservatives, funded by wealthy Texans Bob Perry and Harold Simmons, spent $5.5 million, all of it on ads attacking Cruz.

In the final days leading up to the runoff, Cruz got help from former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts’ Ending Spending Action Fund super PAC, pro-Ron Paul super PAC Endorse Liberty, the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama and the political action committee of the Tea Party Express.

Jillson said a tea party win would likely send a message to Republican elected officials in Texas: “scoot to the right.”

Reporter Michael Beckel contributed to this report.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.