Wow — we all knew John Cornyn was going to win last night. He had no significant opposition. His opponents never got tea party or conservative support. His most significant opponent was…well…eccentric to put it politely. Cornyn managed to get 60% in his primary.
Ted Cruz was not on the ballot in Texas last night. After the Cornyn race was called, Brian Walsh, a paid adviser to the NRSC, took to Twitter and, as many including myself interpreted it, obtusely attacked Cruz, who is Deputy Chair of the NRSC.
Cruz did not endorse Cornyn, who himself did not endorse Cruz in 2012. As a friend of mine who saw that tweet noted, “Walsh is like the professional gay lobby. He has Cruz nominally supporting the establishment by sitting in the NRSC post and not causing trouble. He has Cruz staying out of primaries — not picking against the NRSC candidates. That’s not enough though. He wants to have his cake and eat it too, by having Cruz kiss Cornyn’s ring.”
But this was all a distraction.
Ted Cruz showed just how powerful he is in his home state last night. Cruz endorsed 5 candidates. Four of the five won outright and the fifth is the heavy favorite going into a runoff. Cruz did not endorse in the Attorney General race in Texas, but he said some pretty glowing stuff about Ken Paxton. Several people tell me Paxton got strong momentum after Cruz’s kind words and now he finds himself in the lead headed into a runoff against a guy who spent $5 million. GET MONEY TO KEN PAXTON NOW. We need him to win. Paxton’s opponent is still heavily funded.
Paxton, by the way, features himself with Ted Cruz on the homepage of his website. Consider the Cruz effect in Texas in other races.
Konnie Burton is headed into a runoff in Wendy Davis’s State Senate District. Konnie was behind, but after Cruz’s support found herself in first place.
Donna Campbell, running against a well funded establishment pick for the State Senate, won without a runoff after getting a positive reference from Ted Cruz.
Wayne Christian, an early support of Cruz in 2012, is leading a race for Texas Rail Road Commissioner now. Christian is also the former head of the Texas Conservative Coalition.
And then there is David Dewhurst, the Texas Lieutenant Governor. He ran against Tex Cruz in 2012 as the establishment pick and front runner until Cruz beat him. He has high statewide name ID. And now he finds himself in a runoff with Dan Patrick to keep his job.
Cruz is showing his ability to not just get himself across the finish line, but get other Republicans through their own primaries. Perhaps if Walsh and Senate GOP staffers and Senators keep attacking Cruz, it’ll finally dawn on Cruz that he needs to collect some scalps on his own side in his own chamber to change things. Ted Cruz needs to stretch his legs in Republican primaries outside Texas.