Cruz surges toward victory, but GOP split still clear to see

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by Brad Watson / WFAA.com

khou.com

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

DALLAS — If the polls are correct, Texas voters will make Republican Ted Cruz the state's next U.S. Senator on Tuesday.

But as Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn fall in behind him, some of the divisions among Texas Republicans from the bruising primary fight that Cruz won are still clear.

In a scene hard to imagine a year ago, Hutchison and Cornyn stood together with Ted Cruz last Thursday at a Dallas polling place.

"And the opportunity — God willing — Tuesday to succeed Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who's been an extraordinary advocate for our great state," said Cruz, the state's former solicitor general. "And I am looking forward very much to the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our soon-to-be-senior senator John Cornyn."

Cornyn and Hutchison stand with Cruz because they can count.

Despite the Republican establishment's multi-candidate opposition to Cruz — from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former SMU football star Craig James and ultimately Gov. Rick Perry — Cruz beat them all in the primary and runoff backed by the controlling force in the GOP primary: Tea party voters.

That's not to say all these differences have been covered over and forgotten.

Hutchison has backed earmarks, while Cruz pledges not to ask for them.

And Cruz won't commit to supporting Cornyn for the number two spot among Senate Republicans.

Sen. Hutchison explained her position this way: "I just want to make sure that I can set the priorities, because if you want to take earmarks from Congress, you give them all to the president."

Sen. Cornyn has had disagreements previously with one of Cruz's big supporters, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, over the backing of GOP Senate candidates in other states.

"I have every confidence Ted and I are going to be great partners," Cornyn said. "So far, I'm fortunate enough not to be contested."

But Hutchison — and especially Cornyn, who's up for reelection in two years — understand the numbers from the primary. So whether facade or for real, they stand with Ted Cruz.

 

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