TEXAS HOLD 'EM
Rarely does winning 34 percent of the vote constitute victory. But it certainly did for Ted Cruz — and the tea party — this week. The U.S. Senate candidate finished a distant second in Texas's Republican primary on Tuesday, but front-runner David Dewhurst failed to reach the 50 percent threshold necessary for an outright victory. The two men will now face each other in a runoff election on July 31. The insurgent Cruz, whose conservative intellectual bona fides have made him a darling of the movement nationwide, might still be the underdog against the well-funded Dewhurst, the state's lieutenant governor. But his showing sent yet another signal that the tea party is a force in GOP primaries.
This year has already brought the defeat of an establishment icon, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, and the unexpected victory of state Sen. Deb Fischer in Nebraska. A Cruz triumph would be just as big a victory for the conservative insurgency — Dewhurst has the vocal backing of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and much of the state's GOP establishment.
MONTANA CASE UNITES McCAIN AND WHITEHOUSE
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, who have taken a public beating for gelding the laws against political corruption with their Citizens United decision, will have an opportunity to temper (or double down on) the controversial ruling this month. The Court is expected to respond to a ruling by the Montana Supreme Court, which upheld that state's Corrupt Practices Act and its ban on corporate donations. The Montana court reviewed the dangers of corruption and found that the law's modest burden on corporations did not violate their First Amendment rights.