Burnt Orange Report
Rep. Deshotel Challenges Gov. To Drug Test Elected Officials Not Just Needy Texans

On Tuesday Governor Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced their support for drug testing applicants of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. TANF was created to help families in need, particularly children, and already includes a provision that requires applicants to, “Train for a job or look for employment if capable” and, “not abuse drugs or alcohol.”

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David Dewhurst made a big announcement: he’s running for re-election in 2014. This ends months of speculation about Dewhurst’s future that was amplified when he lost what seemed to be a locked-in primary for the GOP Senate nomination.

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Texas Senate Showdown: Runoff TONIGHT!

The day has finally arrived after a long, drawn out, really lowbrow campaign. Tonight, Texas Republican primary voters are probably going to put us on Cruz Control for the next six years. A third poll came out on Sunday showing Cruz ahead…this time by ten points.

From Public Policy Polling:

Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.

Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don’t consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it’s well justified.

So there you have it, folks. Ted Cruz is going to win (apparently) because of the Tea Party. Cruz likes to frame the race as the answer to the question of whether the Tea Party still matters. While it may matter in terms of who wins the race - as it also did when Richard Mourdock beat Dick Lugar in the Indiana primary - it matters only for the purposes of political posturing. Truth is, if Cruz had been Lt. Gov. for ten years and Dewhurst were a never-elected former solicitor general, Dewhurst would be the surging and likely victorious Tea Party candidate. It’s a formula: if you’re in office, you’re suspicious. If you’re out of office with no real record, you’re “Tea Party” - that is, until you run for re-election.

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Republican Senate Primary Runoff Preview: David Dewhurst vs. Ted Cruz

Long-shot former solicitor general Ted Cruz is poised to upset sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the Republican Senate primary, and it might not be a bad thing. Shocking, sure, to the insiders and Perry power brokers who figured The Dew was a lock back in the fall, before redistricting litigation delayed the primaries and allowed Cruz the extra time to spread the word that he was the “real” conservative. The media buys have been omnipresent and ugly

Personally, I’ve debated internally for months over who I’d rather see win the primary, and likely take the seat in November. Dewhurst is less crazy, more grounded in what passes for factual evidence in the Republican Party of Texas these days. He’d be less embarrassing to our state in the US Senate. He’s more of a “statesman,” though at times his campaign has behaved so very irresponsibly that he should be blushing every time that ad about driving a young man to suicide airs on the TV.

A Cruz victory, on the other hand, would make soon-to-be senior Senator John Cornyn irrelevant, since Cruz could steal the limelight from Big John’s thinly-veiled flailing racism with his out-and-out 100% capital-C Crazy. A Cruz win would also keep Dewhurst in the pink dome presiding over the Senate, a welcome relief from the likely ascension of Senator Dan Patrick, who might gladly help pass a law requiring actual chastity belts given the make-up of the incoming Senate next year. Cruz would be only 1 of 100 in the US Senate and has absolutely zero governing experience. It’s unlikely he could get much done. Both of them would have near-identical voting records. And Cruz might be easier to knock out in 6 years if demographics and revitalized TDP organizing actually come to fruition. And maybe, just maybe, a Cruz win would scare moderates and corporate Republicans into recognizing what the Tea Party truly has wrought here in Texas.

Perry has backed Dewhurst throughout, and could take a huge hit amongst Tea Party types if Cruz pulls it off. Even Sarah Palin has taken to mocking Perry for his backing of The Dew — and if a less-than-one-term Alaskan Governor feels safe poking fun at the longest-serving governor in Texas history, well… if nothing else that doesn’t bode well for Perry 2016.

Dewhurst came in first on May 29th with 44% to Cruz’s 34%, yet polling suggests Cruz will win owing to more enthusiastic supporters who would literally crawl over broken glass to vote for their guy. Dewhurst’s core demographic may be too busy summering in the mountains to cast a ballot. Whatever happens, I hope @FakeTedCruz stays around for a long time. As he’d probably say when he’s not making inside jokes about GOP operatives, “I’m really ready for the run-off to be over so I can pop a few cold ones, gang. Laughing out loud.”

Below are results from the 10 most populous counties in the May 29th primary:

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Texas Senate Showdown: The Real Final Debate

On Monday night, Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst met in Houston for their second final debate. This one is actually the last one; there’s simply no more time. That’s right: we’re less than a week away from the runoff election. On Tuesday, we’ll which one of these cretins is our next senator.

The debate was feisty and covered the classic issue of this campaign: conservative credentials. Both candidates had strong performances, but because Cruz’s was considered somewhat weaker last week, Monday’s debate can be seen as a bigger success for Cruz.

Texas Tribune’s liveblog of the debate caught a symbolic exchange at the end:

The candidates each got 2:30 for closing arguments.

Echoing a Dewhurst line from earlier in the program, Cruz said, “”I very much agree with my opponent. We need doers.”

He spoke about his work fighting for conservative causes before the Supreme Court.

We have seen conservatives all over the state of Texas to come together in this campaign,” Cruz said. He listed several conservative leaders who have endorsed before running out of time.

Dewhurst said voters need to pick the candidate with the “character, values and judgment” to represent Texas.

"If Texas were as bad as my opponent keeps saying in these ads, Texas would look like California," Dewhurst said.

"Texas is a good state. I’m proud of Texas."

Republicans may agree that Texas is a good state, but don’t necessarily associate Dewhurst with its success. Dewhurst, who seems uncomfortable in social situations and rarely goes on the campaign trail, has been behind the scenes for years. He has no perceptible personality or emotional element to his campaign. He is running entirely on the myth about Texas’s economy. It’s not inspiring. If you want visual evidence of this, search for the “#txsen” hashtag on Twitter. By my count, Cruz’ screechers outscreech Dewhurst’s screechers 9:1.

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Texas Senate Showdown: The Final Debate

Rhetorical slams, elbows, and jabs: it was a regular senatorial wannabe slugfest last night in Houston, where Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst met for their final debate before the July 31st runoff. Payroll taxes, Chinese firms, border walls, disclosure, and trustworthiness were primary (actually, runoff) topics. There was no clear winner of the debate.

However, Dewhurst was undoubtedly prepared to fight for his life after two polls last week showed Cruz ahead. Dewhurst had solid answers on his conservative credentials, slamming Cruz for essentially being a lackey lawyer for the state rather than leading his own fights. Cruz, at times, was surprisingly muted. It is unclear how many people watched the debate, but it is often more important whether the candidates can use debate clips in TV ads. Cruz did this to great effect with clips of Dewhurst talking about his negotiating skills.

I think Dewhurst had a good night. Even if he wasn’t the unequivocal winner, the debate didn’t fit the narrative told by those polls. Dewhurst was clear, strong, and ready to win. It’s possible the polls actually lit the fire under Dewhurst that he needed to be something other than the most obvious candidate in the world. On Monday, the candidates released their fundraising numbers. Between May 10 and June 30, Cruz brought in $1.7 million and Dewhurst brought in $1.5 million. Clearly, if Dewhurst didn’t start to make a stop this week, Cruz had a very good chance of keeping his poll and fundraising momentum going until voters go to the polls. But if Dewhurst can turn around the narrative now, he might prove Cruz to have peaked too soon. Two weeks is a lot of time in politics. Read More

New Poll: Cruz Leads Dewhurst in Runoff & Voter Enthusiasm

Public Policy Polling (PPP) has just released the results of a new poll of the Texas Senate runoff between Ted Cruz and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. The poll finds Ted Cruz leading 49-44 with much more enthusiasm among his supporters.

Cruz’s lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz’s chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with ‘somewhat excited’ voters and 50-36 with those who say they are ‘not that excited.’ The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.

If Cruz wins he can thank the Tea Party. He has a 71-26 advantage with that group and they are expected to make up 40% of the voters in the runoff. Dewhurst has a large lead with the 50% of voters who do not identify with the Tea Party but its still not enough to close the over whelming enthusiasm gap. Also notable is Cruz’s 78-19 lead among hispanics, they represented 8% of those polled. Read More

US Senate candidate Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is CIA “spider-man.” Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartholomew, All Rights Reserved
See more cartoons from Richard Bartholomew at Bartholoviews.

US Senate candidate Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is CIA “spider-man.”

Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartholomew, All Rights Reserved

See more cartoons from Richard Bartholomew at Bartholoviews.