Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst failed to receive a majority of GOP primary votes in the state's Senate race Tuesday, ensuring he will face former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz in a July 31 runoff for the GOP nomination. With 32 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called a runoff with Dewhurst leading Cruz 47 percent to 32 percent, followed by former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert at 13 percent.
Dewhurst entered the race as a heavy favorite to capture the GOP nomination thanks to fourteen years as a statewide elected official and an immense personal fortune. Dewhurst vastly outspent his opponents in the lead-up to the GOP primary, blanketing the Lone Star State with television ads.
The two clashed over illegal immigration last week when Dewhurst accused Cruz of aligning himself with groups who support amnesty for illegal immigrants in a radio ad on Thursday, according to the Dallas Morning News.
A spokesman for Cruz told the News that he does not support amnesty. His supporters said the ad played on anti-Hispanic fears.
Cruz emerged as a conservative star in his first run for public office. He scored endorsements from powerful conservative groups like the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund while also winning over local tea party groups across Texas. Cruz and his allies painted Dewhurst as too moderate for Texas' conservative primary electorate.