Early voting begins today for Texas runoff elections. Nowhere are the candidates campaigning harder and spending more money than in the Republican U.S. Senate race. On Saturday Ted Cruz headlined three Tea Party rallies beginning in Garland, where he fired up a crowd of about 100.
“We’re winning this race right now,” said Cruz as he talked about the political poll that places him nine points ahead of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. “Why do you think they are firing every canon? They are panicking,” he said. This was friendly turf for Cruz. Tea Party voters like Carol Little of Sachse propelled Cruz to a second place finish in the primary.
“An established Republican Ted Cruz is not and he’s going to stand up to the party. He’s not going to be that country club boy,” said Little.
To win this second round Cruz needs Tea Party supporters to turn out even stronger this time. He told them he also needs their money because his wealthy opponent will dump millions into television advertising in this final week.
“We have to raise an additional million dollars in these next 10 days. Why?” Cruz queried. “Because in the next 10 days you’re going to see three, four, five million dollars of attack ads all aimed at me, and the lies get more desperate as the days go on. By the end of it you are going to hear I’m a one-legged, leprous ax murderer. For the record I have two legs.”
While Cruz is courting grassroots activists, Dewhurst is trying to energize some traditional go-to groups like veterans. Last week Dewhurst reminded veterans at a Grand Prairie VFW that he’s one of them. He enlisted in the Air Force and served in the CIA.
“It is important not only to Texas but to the rest of the country that we have a United State veteran from Texas who understands perfectly well-only too well- the problems our returning veterans have,” he said.
Dewhurst says he wants to create a program that gives returning soldiers a first shot at filling thousands of new border patrol jobs.
“They’re already trained. They’re already disciplined. They love our country,” Dewhurst explained.
Navy veteran Robert Tiffany liked the sound of that saying, “We need somebody in there who knows the veterans and who will speak up for us.”
With almost $37 million spent already this Senate race is reportedly the most expensive in the country. And millions more will probably be shelled out this week as Cruz and Dewhurst ramp up their TV commercials, phone banks, social media and campaign events as they make their final appeals to voters.