Senate candidate Ted Cruz is projected to win the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate in Texas. With 37 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz has won nearly 53 percent of the vote over Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who has won just under 46 percent. Dewhurst won the four-way GOP primary in May, but did not win the necessary 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff with Cruz. Here's more from the Washington Post:

Cruz, an emerging conservative star whose father emigrated to the United States from Cuba, has drawn comparisons to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and has been lauded by national conservative political pundits and groups for over a year. His victory is a major blow to the Republican establishment in Texas, which lined up squarely behind Dewhurst. It’s also a victory for the tea party and national conservatives who lined up behind Cruz even when a surprise win appeared unlikely.

Cruz’s win is a remarkable political feat and arguably the Senate upset of the cycle. In early 2011, when Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her intention to retire, observers regarded Dewhurst as a virtual shoo-in to take her place in the upper chamber. Dewhurst is very well-known in Texas, enjoys immense personal wealth, and enlisted the help of Gov. Rick Perry’s top political hands. Perry endorsed Dewhurst during the campaign.

The seat is considered safe for the GOP, with Cruz's nomination not significantly changing the party's status in the Lone Star State. But that doesn't mean his victory is without meaning.

Cruz is the latest conservative challenger to pull off a win over an establishment-favored candidate in a Republican Senate primary. Richard Mourdock, the conservative state treasurer of Indiana, defeated six-term incumbent Dick Lugar in a hard fought, contentious primary this past May. And in Nebraska, the relatively unknown state senator Deb Fischer toppled establishment favorite Jon Brunning in that state's Republican primary.

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