It wasn't supposed to be this way. Texas was supposed to have its primaries done long ago, when the GOP's presidential candidate was still in contention. In that scenario, the Senate seat Kay Bailey Hutchison held for two decades would then go to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Dewhurst has for the most part been a loyal soldier to Governor Rick Perry and, with his millions in personal wealth, he could run a strong campaign while everyone else would be drowned out by presidential politics. Alas, the state's redistricting debacle meant the primaries were pushed back months. Now, with a week to go, Dewhurst is still leading the race, but the latest poll shows things will likely go to a runoff. Not surprisingly, with competition in the race, things have turned increasingly nasty.
What's weird, however, are the negative claims. Dewhurst, who sat back while the legislature passed a budget with billions in cuts, including unprecedented education cuts, has been accused of being a big spender. Ted Cruz, his chief opponent, has gotten endorsements from Sarah Palin and Tea Party groups—but that hasn't stopped claims that he's close to Obama and moreover, a pro-China, anti-American advocate. In the meantime, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who's running as a businessman, has an ad calling the rest empty suits, and former ESPN commentator Craig James has mainly put out ads endorsing Rick Perry and Rick Santorum—with little mention that he's a candidate as well. The race may soon be over, and odds are Dewhurst will take it all the way, but it's good to know the political dialogue is as high as ever.
In case you need some afternoon YouTube viewing, here are some of the best:
Dewhurst begins the warfare with accusations that Cruz was busy defending a businessman from China of all places against an American. Has he no loyalty?!
Dewhurst takes issue with Cruz's use of a piece of paper, calling it a prop. Things are heating up!
Cruz comes back, showing just how outraged people are by Dewhurst's accusations. The people are identified as "Republican Woman," a veteran, and a person from Burleson.
But just to make sure that we could see he was serious, Cruz also asked that we end the political circus.
Then there was Craig James's strange ad cheerleading Rick Perry.
Let me repeat that. Dude makes strange ads.