In another upset election, Tea Party back Ted Cruz clinched the Texas Republican Senate nomination. With forty-eight percent of the precincts reporting, Cruz was ahead of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst 55%-45%. A Ted Cruz victory was seen as a long shot against the establishment backed Dewhurst who also received support of Gov. Rick Perry. Besides having the conservative credentials that drew the admiration of the Tea Party, Cruz also utilized new media and outmaneuvered Dewhurst to victory. Politico reported that:
For all the hype surrounding social media in campaigns, Cruz is among the first American examples of a dark horse candidate who rode to victory by tapping into the vast power of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and email. Whether he wins or loses Tuesday, the fact that he emerged as a serious contender — thanks largely to a foundation poured online — has even his opponents in awe…
Among Cruz’s smart cyber moves: Weekly calls with supportive bloggers, who had access to the candidate throughout the race. Two full-time staffers focused on social media content, resulting in speedy responses to just about every tweet, Facebook comment and email.
A microsite, cruzcrew.org, that empowered volunteers to take on tasks and print out campaign literature. The use of social media ads from the earliest days of the campaign to build a mailing list that is, in the words of Vincent Harris, the Cruz campaign digital strategist, “bigger than most of the failed Republican candidates for president.”
Furthermore, “on Facebook, the Cruz campaign sent city-specific status updates so that, for instance, only users in Waco would receive the update about Cruz’s upcoming Waco appearance. Meanwhile, whenever Cruz appeared on national or statewide radio or TV programs, his campaign website would post a special splash page to specifically welcome the listeners or viewers who came there during or immediately after the show.” Lastly, “the campaign also took advantage of the resources provided by Google and Facebook, both of which have dedicated Republican and Democratic staffers available to offer advice. As recently as this week, Harris said, the campaign deployed an idea provided to them by Google’s Republican outreach guru Rob Saliterman.”
The end results was a clear victory and provided the third knockout the Tea Party has delivered to the squishy Republican establishment. This victory should quell any apprehension pundits might have about the Tea Party’s life span. It’s not on life support. However, the dead tree media feels that the Tea Party is running out of gas, despite Mr. Cruz’s well executed campaign and the two other senate upsets we scored this year with Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Deb Fischer in Nebraska.
I think the mainstream media is running out of things to write about. It’s the only explanation to this grossly presumptuous piece by Elizabeth Hartfield. This wouldn’t be the first time ABC fabricated a story. In her post, which was before Cruz’s resounding win, Hartfield stated that “it’s too early to declare the “death of the Tea-Party” movement. But the so-called Tea Party candidates have yet to claim the kind of wins that they did before.” Well, that was generous. She claims:
Only one Tea Party candidate has won the GOP nomination in their state’s Senate race. Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer, defeated longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in the state’s primary in May.
Other candidates who were, at one point or another, considered strong contenders in GOP primaries ended up with relatively weak showings in their respective contests.
In Nebraska, state Treasurer Don Stenberg, once considered the strong challenger to the “establishment” candidate, Attorney General Jon Bruning, wound up finishing third in the GOP primary, with both candidates losing to state Sen. Deb Fischer. In Utah, Sen. Orrin Hatch defeated Tea Party challenger Dan Liljenquist by a margin of more than 30 percent, according to unofficial results from the Associated Press.
One big “establishment vs. Tea Party” primary has yet to take place. In Texas, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who is widely viewed as an up-and-coming Tea Party star and frequently compared to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (both men are of Hispanic descent) is in the final weeks of a runoff with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is viewed as the establishment candidate in the race. Polls have consistently shown Dewhurst in the lead, but some political observers in the state believe that Cruz could benefit from the July 31 runoff, where turnout will be low and likely consist of a more steadfastly conservative demographic.