David Dewhurst, Ted Cruz square off for U.S. Senate seat from Texas
BY Associated Press
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
5/30/12 at 3:56 AM
DALLAS (AP) - Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and tea party-supported lawyer Ted Cruz emerged from a field of nine Tuesday to send the Republican race to replace retiring Texas U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to a runoff.
Dewhurst, who counted Gov. Rick Perry among his backers, held a double-digit lead over the former Texas solicitor general but couldn't collect more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid another contest with Cruz on July 31.
The Secretary of State's Office said more than 13 million Texans were registered to vote, but several polling places indicated voters stayed away, perhaps due in part to confusion about a primary date that had been rescheduled twice because of redistricting disputes.
In the Senate race, the strong showing by Cruz capped what's already a banner month for the tea party movement. Richard Mourdock ousted 36-year Senate veteran Richard Lugar in Indiana, and state Sen. Deb Fischer used strong tea party support to upset two better-known candidates in Nebraska.
Among others seeking the GOP senatorial nomination, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert conceded less than an hour after polls closed and ex-NFL running back and ESPN announcer Craig James failed to get out of single-digit percentages.
On the Democratic side, former state Rep. Paul Sadler, from Henderson in East Texas, topped a field of four and will face Grady Yarbrough in a runoff.
Incumbents fared well despite some challenges. Longtime U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson dispensed with the first Democratic primary opponent in her two decades representing her Dallas-area district. And Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett emerged from a field of three to take his party's nomination in the new 35th District, which runs from Austin to San Antonio.
Along the Gulf Coast, a runoff was likely in the Republican race to fill the House seat of Ron Paul, who chose not to run for re-election while focusing on his presidential bid.
Original Print Headline: Texas GOP due Senate runoff race