Texas
1:25 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

What Cruz's Senate Victory Means For Texas, The Senate, And The Tea Party

Most of the U.S House and Senate candidates who lined up with the Tea Party did not win their races last night. Two notable exceptions were Michele Bachmann in Minnesota — and Ted Cruz here in Texas. So what does Cruz's victory means for the state, the Senate, and for the Tea Party.

Senator-elect Ted Cruz will replace Kay Bailey Hutchison, one of the more senior members of the Republican establishment.

Brandon Rottinghaus is an associate professor of political science at University of Houston. 

"My suspicion is that you will see Ted Cruz take the sort of 'Obama path', where, as Senator, he's likely to be more of a public figure and not as much as a kind of tactician behind the scenes."

Rottinghaus points out that Senator Hutchison put a lot of effort into making sure federal tax dollars came back to Texas.

"Whether or not Ted Cruz has the sort of political muscle to do that, we don't know yet. But he certainly — in terms of his approach to the general process of budgets, and pork, and earmarks — has been less committed to those kinds of things."

With Democratic Senate candidates winning in Missouri and Indiana, Cruz won't have as many compatriots as the Tea Party had hoped.

"So I think that you're going to see members like Ted Cruz show up to the Senate, and try to put their stamp on something.  But they're not going to have much headway because the Republican Party is still, by and large, run by the old guard."

Rottinghaus says the results show that the positions and views espoused by most Tea Party candidates are a turnoff to voters outside Texas and a handful of other districts.

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