Texas Republicans face a GOP primary runoff in the race to replace retiring US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Given the dominance of Republicans in Texas politics, this is as good as the general election. Turns out it’s a hell of a family fight between the lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, and the grassroots fave, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz. The NYT reports:
“Ted taps into the energy on the right,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political consultant and former Hutchison spokesman who supports Mr. Cruz. “It’s a similar dynamic to what you’ve seen in some of these other states, where an established statewide elected official is somewhat conservative but not boldly conservative. In the current environment, that’s what Republican primary voters want.”
The day after Mr. Perry’s speech, Mr. Dewhurst took the stage to address convention delegates. There were scattered boos and chants of “Cruz” at the beginning of Mr. Dewhurst’s remarks, but for the most part, Mr. Cruz’s supporters remained silent. For Mr. Perry, the outburst the day before was a stunning moment, unlike anything he had faced in office — a Republican governor of a solidly Republican state being booed at a Republican convention for declaring his support for an influential Republican lieutenant governor.
“It shows that Perry is out of touch with the grass roots,” said Konni Burton of Colleyville, a Cruz supporter who is the vice president of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “You get in a bubble, and I think that’s where they are right now frankly.”
Just so you understand: Rick Perry, who patrolled the farthest borders of the right-wing ranch among the GOP presidential candidates, got booed for supporting the Republican lieutenant governor, considered too wussy and too liberal by many Texas Republicans. It’s true that there’s something Lugarish about Dewhurst, who wouldn’t in a million years mouth off about Texas secession. Still … dang. Like an Austin political consultant once told me: “Texas is America’s Bavaria.”