The Tea Party has triumphed in a Texas election seen as a major test for the movement. Former state solicitor general Ted Cruz has defeated establishment favorite Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to become the state's Republican US Senate nominee. Cruz, the 41-year-old son of a Cuban immigrant, is almost certain to win the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison, and is likely to become the conservative movement's latest star, notes the New York Times. Cruz beat Dewhurst by 57% to 43%, reports Politico.
Dewhurst, a multimillionaire who spent $19 million of his own money in the race, had the backing of the state's GOP establishment, including Gov. Rick Perry. But Cruz won the endorsement of conservative figures including Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum, and Sarah Palin. Despite being outspent by nearly three to one, he managed to erase the 17-point lead Dewhurst had in May. The win "is the biggest victory for the Tea Party to date," the chief of Public Policy Polling tells the Wall Street Journal. Dewhurst has a deeply conservative record, but he failed to win over voters who saw him as a creature of the establishment, analysts note. (Read more Election 2012 stories.)