WASHINGTON -- Ted Cruz, the tea party-backed GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, will face establishment-backed David Dewhurst in a runoff this summer that will test conservative strength.
Dewhust, the Texas lieutenant governor, failed to achieve the 50% threshold needed to cinch the nomination for a seat that is expected to remain Republican-held in the general election this fall. The runoff is July 31, a mid-summer date that is likely to lead to a relatively low, and unpredictable, turnout, according to Texas political analysts.
"This is the outcome we have been working so hard to achieve and it's a major victory for the conservative movement," Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the conservative leader who backed Cruz's candidacy, said in a fund-raising pitch on Wednesday morning.
Cruz, a former state solicitor general, was the lesser known of the candidates, but gained conservative backing from Sarah Palin, Tea Party Express and other conservatives as millions poured into the race.