Now the final roundup of pre-runoff Senate race news:
Evan at Perry vs. World debunks Cruz’s role in Dewhurst’s last-minute “cash for kids” ad. “Ted Cruz was trying to help the Kids for Cash victims get the money they deserved from an insurance company.”
The more detailed explanation that Evan links to is here. “In either case, Cruz had nothing to do with the creation of the fund or how much it pays victims. He was not one of the attorneys listed on the agreement. If anything, Cruz’s only involvement in the case would have resulted in more—not less—money for victims.”
Even Paul Burka can see the writing on the wall: “Nothing Dewhurst has tried has changed the dynamics of the race at all. If anything, the millions Dewhurst has spent on TV have hurt his own campaign. The China ad and the Kids for Cash scandal ad have not achieved anything. Dewhurst’s array of consultants has never been able to lay a glove on Cruz.”
Politico joins the list of those expecting a Cruz victory. “We’re on the 2-yard line. We have marched the entire length of the field. We started out up in the hot dog stands.”
Final day of campaigning: “At Dewhurst’s stopover at an Austin Chick-fil-A franchise early Monday, about a dozen supporters waved Dewhurst placards—and close to half of them were lobbyists.”
Dewhurst is still campaigning. Here’s his last-minute-push video with Rick Perry:
At least it’s refreshingly-free of dishonest slime attacks against Cruz…
And yes, the Democrats are having their own runoff tomorrow. The Texas Democratic Party all but says “Screw neutrality, you better vote for Paul Sadler if you know what’s good for you.” They also commit a factual error. As readers of this blog know, Grady Yarbrough has been endorsed by a newspaper, The Austin Villager. Since the The Austin Villager is a black community newspaper, if a Republican omitted them, you know they would be accused of racism…
Mr. Dewhurst’s vulgar and dishonest campaign of scorched-earth ad hominem against Mr. Cruz raises serious questions about his judgment and his commitment to conservative values.
He has transformed himself from second-best to flailing embarrassment. He has run campaign ads that are clearly predicated on the notion that Texas conservatives are rubes — ads that treat national conservative groups such as the Club for Growth as out-of-state interlopers, and that attack Cruz for taking on unpopular clients as an attorney.
They also pigeonhole Dewhurst’s politics with scorching accuracy:
Mr. Dewhurst is an undistinguished, go-along/get-along creature of the GOP leadership’s seniority-oriented model of politics. He is a student of the school of thought that rallied party operatives behind Indiana’s too-long-lived Richard Lugar when a credible conservative alternative was available in the person of Richard Mourdock. His views — though perhaps not his temperament — would make him an ideal candidate to represent a state such as Maine, where the only other option would be a Democrat to his left. But a strong conservative can win in Texas, and we have one in Ted Cruz.
Texas deserves something more than another time-serving Republican placeholder, and Ted Cruz is as fine a candidate as is seeking office today. Republican primary voters rarely are presented with so obvious a choice or so rich an opportunity.
Read the whole thing. And those comparisons of the Cruz-Dewhurst race to the Pat Toomey-Arlen Specter race are going to leave a scar…
“PPP’s final poll of the Republican Senate runoff in Texas finds Ted Cruz opening up a 52-42 lead, an increase from our survey two weeks ago that found him ahead 49-44.”
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.
The first three I believe; the fourth I have been resistant to, both because I thought Perry was the least flawed of the Republican Presidential candidates before he self-destructed in the debates, and because it fits far too neatly into the liberal media’s hatred of Perry and desire to see him fail. However, looking at the events of the last few months, I must admit that the possibility even Texas Republicans have soured on Perry does, in fact, fit the facts. (And several candidates that Perry endorsed in close, down-ballot races lost.)
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.
Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in Tuesday’s runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as ‘somewhat excited.’ The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst’s 59-31 lead with voter who say they’re ‘not that excited’ about voting. It’s an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don’t it’s possible Cruz could end up winning by closer t0 20 points.
The greater excitement among Cruz voters can also be measured by their eagerness to get out and cast their ballots during the early voting period. Cruz leads 55-40 among those who say they’ve already voted, so Dewhurst will likely need a huge advantage among election day voters to overcome the deficit. But Cruz has a 49-44 lead with those who have yet to vote too.
Cruz’s likely victory Tuesday is also indicative of a generational gap within the Texas Republican ranks. Dewhurst leads handily with seniors, 56-39. But he’s getting destroyed with younger voters, trailing 60-33 with those between 18 and 45 and 59-35 with those in the 46-65 age range.
Runoffs are unpredictable and it still seems possible that Dewhurst could win on Tuesday, but for now it looks like all the momentum since the primary has gone in Ted Cruz’s direction.
It’s late, so I haven’t dug into the crosstabs yet, but this analysis corresponds closely with my tracking of the race. As long as ted Cruz’s team can continue to execute in these last 36 hours, I believe that Ted Cruz will be the next United States Senator from Texas.
Ted Cruz staffer Joshua Perry recently tweeted that he had hit a deer. (Both his car and the deer were fine.) I quipped that he should hope it was a Dewhurst-voting deer. He replied he thought it was for Sadler. But there are so many other possibilities:
It was a Grady Yarbrough deer, disoriented from suddenly being thrust from the safety of obscurity, out into the bright onrushing headlights.
It was a Sean Hubbard deer, which had spent the last two months wandering around despondently without purpose, before finally deciding to put itself out of its misery.
It was a Craig James deer, sure it could make it across the road, but only made in 3% of the way before it got hit.
It was a Ricardo Sanchez deer, which just stepped out into the road before realizing that it didn’t have the energy to get to the other side.
It was a Joe Agris deer, who felt its mission was accomplished simply by stepping out onto the road.
It was a Michael Williams deer, which suddenly decided it wanted to be on another road.
It was a Roger Williams deer, which was just following the Michael Williams deer.
In summary: I’ve been following the Texas Senate race too damn long!
George Will says that Dewhurst is good enough. I would take issue with one of Will’s assertions, though: If you read that letter signed by eighteen Texas state senators, it is not “in support of Dewhurst,” but rather a technical description of the various legislative fates of the various bills Cruz said Dewhurst either killed behind the scenes, or else didn’t push hard enough for. It’s not an endorsement of Dewhurst’s candidacy by those Senators. However, Dewhurst did just pick up the endorsement of…
State Senator Dan Patrick. Given the significant differences Dewhurst and Patrick have had over the years (most notably the fate of the anti-groping bill), that’s a good pickup for Dewhurst, though I don’t think it really moves the needle.
Dewhurst’s conservative credentials get examined by Rice professor Mark P. Jones, who concludes that “Dewhurst’s ideological location is somewhere in the moderate or centrist wings of the Republican Senate delegation,” while passing legislation acceptable to “most” Republicans.
Blogger Befuddled by the Clowns says that “Dewhurst because he clearly feels he will be able to swing in and buy the votes. In my mind, this represents the same old arrogance that has existed in Washington DC for decades. This prevailing attitude is the very essence that I want evaporated from our Federal Government…It is clear that David Dewhurst is out of touch with the real working class and will bring his elitist ideals with him. These are the reasons why I voted for Ted Cruz.”
My non-political life is amazingly busy this week, but here’s a roundup of reactions to yesterdays debate between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst:
Though she bashes both candidates, Patricia Kilday Hart does note that “Throughout his tenure as lieutenant governor, Dewhurst has displayed a maddening tendency to deny inconvenient facts.”
Joe Holley says that the race has gotten personal. Also noted that most of the audience favored Cruz, including “a stay-at-home mom, said she supports Cruz because he will keep the nation from going the way of Europe, ‘where liberties are being stripped away every day. If we don’t elect strong, principled leaders, we’re going to suffer the same fate.’”
Robert T. Garrett’s piece on tyhe debate itself is behind the DSM paywall, but his followup isn’t.
Paul Burka said of Dewhurst that “It’s almost painful to watch him struggle to achieve fluency.” Also said of the Tea Party members watching Cruz debate: “’He’s one of us, and Dewhurst isn’t.’ And it’s true. He’s not.” Also: “If Cruz wins the race, the Dewhurst campaign will go down in Texas political history as one of the worst that has ever been run.”
The lefty Houston Presscalls Dewhurst the “Worst. Campaigner. Ever.”
After the usual Perry and Tea Party bashing.
This article suggests that Cruz has actually been spending more than Dewhurst, but I’m not sure that’s right. And has Dewhurst really only donated a paltry $22,147 to his own campaign? Maybe, since he’s loaned it millions, but that number still seems strangely low (but I don’t have time to go digging through his FEC reports right now).
Joe Holley says Cruz won Tuesday’s debate. “A debate, whatever the format, is just not Dewhurst’s forte, as he himself pretty much admitted Tuesday night, and he went on to prove it. He looked uncomfortable, often stumbled, and at times found himself on the defensive. It was not a good night for him.”
The King Street Patriots in Houston are hosting a Senate runoff debate between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst in Houston, Monday, July 23, starting at 6 PM. It will be broadcast on Fox 26 in Houston (and I’m guessing other Fox affiliates around the state).
Given how poorly Dewhurst did in the last one, I’m sort of surprised he agreed to do another one, but good for both him and Cruz on agreeing to this one. That still leaves voters two short of the promised five (and I doubt they’ll squeeze them in between now and the runoff July 31), but it’s more than runoff voters in most states will get this year.
If you didn’t watch last night’s Belo debate between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst, the executive summary is: Cruz won decisively. And despite Dewhurst’s agreement to participate in five runoff debates with Cruz, this debate was the last of two.
Here’s video of it from WFAA so you can judge for yourself:
Both candidates have improved their debating skills as the campaign has gone on: Cruz has gone from being exceptionally good to great, while Dewhurst has improved from dismal to merely poor. Dewhurst just does not know how to make clear, concise points during a debate. Time and time again, he started an answer, and then a second answer, and then a third, without finishing the first. Save Elizabeth Ames Jones, who has an actual speech impediment, Dewhurst may be the worst speaker in the Texas Senate race this cycle, major or minor, on either side. With all the money he’s spending on this race, and his obvious weakness, you’d think Dewhurst would hire someone just for debate prep.
By contrast, Cruz’s decision to attend essentially every candidate forum and debate over the last 18 months has served him very well, not only from generating grassroots enthusiasm for his campaign, but also how direct and concise his answers have become from months of honing them. I had some criticisms early in the campaign about Cruz sometimes reaching for his stock answers too transparently. But now Cruz seems to have a clear, concise answer for every question put to him, and has achieved such fluidity with them that they never seem canned or forced. None of the questions in last nights debate gave Cruz opportunity to use his father’s life story (compelling though it is), so he didn’t trot it out, which was the right decision.
By contrast, it was Dewhurst’s constant refrain of “I’m a jobs creator” that seemed forced and transparent. Even worse was his answer to the wage tax question, insisting he was against it, but never addressing all the contemporaneous media reports he was in favor of it. He also backtracked, saying the wage tax didn’t go anywhere, Cruz pointing out that it passed the senate, and Dewhurst admitting that yes, it did pass the senate (you know, the legislative chamber Dewhurst runs).
Of the seven or eight topics covered, Cruz dominated all but one. (On a question of cutting spending or buying the Texas-built F-35, both Cruz and Dewhurst said they would listen to the military experts, and for once Dewhurst’s answer was free of backtracking and stumbles.) On the few policy questions where the candidates differed, Cruz had demonstrably more conservative positions. (“I disagree with the premise of your question. I don’t think it’s government’s job to provide health care.”)
This was also far and away the best moderated of the Texas debates, nearly free of liberal policy assumptions, and moderator Brad Watson was extremely good at getting candidates to focus on the actual question. He also got in an introductory dig, noting that there was a runoff because Dewhurst couldn’t “seal the deal.” (Burn!)
After the debate, Tom Leppert endorsed Dewhurst, which I don’t see moving the needle much in either direction. It was a good (if transparent) move by Team Dewhurst to blunt any possible Cruz momentum from the debate, which suggests that going in that they were pretty sure Dewhurst would lose.
Baring unforeseen technical difficulties, I will be LiveTweeting the debate from Cruz headquarters in Austin. I’m guessing the hashtag will probably be #belodebate again. Drop in if you’re so inclined.