Tea Party's Cruz projected winner in Republican Senate race

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 31, 2012 9:45 PM
Tea Party's Cruz projected winner in Republican Senate race

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz defeated Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in a Republican primary runoff for an open U.S. Senate seat, the Texas Tribune projected on Tuesday.

Cruz, 41, a former state solicitor general who has never held elected office, is the third insurgent Republican this year to defeat an establishment Republican in a U.S. Senate primary.

Dewhurst, 66, a wealthy businessman who had the support of top Texas Republicans including Governor Rick Perry, started the race as the frontrunner. But Cruz drew support from conservative stars such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and money from national conservative groups such as the Club for Growth.

The Senate seat is being vacated by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. Cruz would become the first Hispanic U.S. senator from Texas if he defeats the Democratic nominee in November. Texas has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune)