Texas Toast: What A Tea Party Candidate's Win Means For Washington

Texas Toast: What A Tea Party Candidate's Win Means For Washington

August 1, 2012 -- He's already being called the next Marco Rubio.

Conservative Republican Ted Cruz, who scored an upset — but rock-solid — victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in yesterday's Texas U.S. Senate runoff is being hailed today as the second coming of the current Florida senator and vice presidential short-lister.

"Just like the upstart Rubio, who started with long odds but defeated long time incumbent Florida Governor Charlie Christ in the 2010 GOP Primary with major support from the Tea Party, Cruz did exactly the same thing in Texas," the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody wrote in an analysis of last night's results.

By Election Day, Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general, had already overtaken Dewhurst in recent polls. Cruz had the backing of Tea Party stalwarts like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint whereas Dewhurst won the support of establishment figures like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the erstwhile presidential hopeful.As ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield points out, Cruz was also getting outspent. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Dewhurst poured $11 million of his own personal fortune into his campaign, spending a total of $19 million, compared to the $7 million Cruz's campaign spent.So, what does one Republican's victory over a fellow GOPer in the bright red state of Texas mean in the grand scheme of things?

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As Brody noted: "Eventually the media and others will realize that the Tea Party is not only far from dead it's just warming up."

But regardless of who wins control of the Senate this November, we know that the upper body in Washington is going to be as polarized and uncompromising as ever, notes ABC News Political Director Amy Walter. Conservative Republicans like Cruz and Richard Murdouck in Indiana won because they insisted they wouldn't be part of a "go along, get along" culture.

Ultimately, it also means that even if Romney is elected President he can't expect to win votes on "team spirit" alone.

To put it another way, as one smart Republican strategist told the Note: "The fact the Tea Party can win is the 2010 story; whether they can govern and what the 'establishment' will do to retool is the question."SARAH PALIN SEND 'CONGRATS'. ABC's Shushannah Walshe points us toward Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which includes this note: "Congratulations to Ted Cruz! This is a victory both for Ted and for the grassroots Tea Party movement. This primary race has always been about the kind of leadership we need in D.C. Our goal is not just about changing the majority in the Senate. It is about the kind of leadership we want. Ted Cruz represents the kind of strong conservative leadership we want in D.C."