May 27th, 2014
01:14 PM ET
6 months ago

Tea party cleans up in Texas runoffs

Updated 7:30 a.m. ET, 5/28/2014

(CNN) – They've been few and far between this primary season, but the tea party racked up some high-profile victories on Tuesday in runoff elections in Texas.

And among those doing down to defeat was the oldest member of Congress.

The grassroots conservative movement scored one of its biggest wins in the last election cycle in Texas, when the candidate it was backing in the Senate GOP runoff, Ted Cruz, defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Tea party beats Dewhurst again

Thanks in part to support from now-Sen. Cruz, the tea party remains alive and well in the Lone Star State, and two years later, Dewhurst was defeated again, this time by state Sen. Dan Patrick.

Patrick, a conservative talk radio host and former Houston sportscaster and bar owner, bested Dewhurst in the runoff for lieutenant governor, winning by nearly a two-to-one margin.

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

Patrick was considered the favorite going into the runoff. In the March primary, Patrick brought in 41% of the vote, 13 percentage points ahead of Dewhurst, who poured in millions of his own money into the campaign.

Patrick, who helped found the tea party caucus in the Texas legislature, has appealed to conservatives in part with his hardline stance on illegal immigration.

Patrick will go on to face Democratic nominee Leticia Van de Putte in November. She's a long time state lawmaker and practicing pharmacist.

Paxton bests Branch for attorney general

In another statewide race, Texas state Sen. Ken Paxton easily beat veteran state Rep. Dan Branch in the GOP primary for attorney general, CNN projects.

Paxton, who was praised by Cruz, hopes to succeed Greg Abbott, the party's nominee for governor.

"Texas remains a red state with Mitt Romney winning by double digits in 2012. What Ted Cruz proved is that if you run a strong enough race, you can win statewide as a grassroots conservative, even when you are outspent," said Texas-based Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak, who runs the political blog MustReadTexas.com.

Mackowiak, also a consultant for former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, noted the net result of this year's elections is that Texas "will be more conservative in the State House and Senate and among statewide elected officials."

Hall loses to Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe narrowly defeated Rep. Ralph Hall, the oldest elected official in Washington, in a runoff battle for the GOP nomination for the state's 4th Congerssional District, which is located in the northeast part of the state.

The 91-year-old Hall becomes the first incumbent member of Congress to go down in defeat this primary season. Hall was first elected to the House in 1980 and was vying for an 18th term.

With Hall's defeat, and with longtime Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan retiring, Congress is losing its last two veterans of  World War II.

The 48-year-old Ratcliffe, running as an anti-establishment candidate,  called for "new leadership" and has promised to leave office after eight years. He had the backing of some powerful national conservative groups like Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

In the March primary, Hall captured 45% of the vote – not enough to stave off a runoff against Ratcliffe, the second place finisher at 28%.

CNN: Key races to watch in 2014

Alameel to face Cornyn

There was one Democratic runoff that grabbed some national attention.

Dallas dental mogul David Alameel easily won the Democratic Senate showdown.

He crushed Kesha Rogers – who's called for President Barack Obama's impeachment and is a supporter of gadfly extremist and perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.

Alameel now faces an uphill battle against incumbent John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, considered the overwhelming favorite, in the general election.

Cornyn's campaign immediately released a statement slamming Alameel ahead of November's general election.

Alameel, the Republican incumbent's campaign said, is too liberal for Texas.

"And no matter how many big checks David Alameel writes to his own campaign, this seat belongs to the people of Texas and this election will not be bought.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Tea Party • Tea Party movement • Ted Cruz • Texas
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    -many stalwarts go to dogs in Republican Party of no, this Teatrolls....karma. Drive these drivel out.

    May 27, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. rs

    It may be a good day for the TEA Party in Texas- but then again, consider the location, and their Governor.

    May 27, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. KarlQuick

    Taxed Enough Already [not a] Party is a fictional DNC "boogieman" invented, with help of compliant media, to have someone to blame for their failure to deliver on a massive number of promises. Reality is the so-called TEA Party is the vast majority of independents and libertarians, mostly unaffiliated with a party, but unified by disappointment at the arrogant way politicians ignore their promises and abuse their authority. ...quit pretending LIFE is a game! We need no uniforms to vote our will!

    May 27, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. much thunder...little rain

    91..yea must be trying to pass conyers or dingel...

    May 27, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Gunderson

    Well, Wouldn't ya know it,
    Texas saw the light! They also used to be solidly democrat. A Congressman, a good democrat got elected and went to Washington. In no time flat the liberals in Washington started telling him how he would vote. he didn't like it, resigned, went back to Texas, ran as a GASP!, Republican, and came back! Hey, I hear Toyota is moving it's Headquarters from California to Texas! Maybe they saw the light also? Tsk, Tsk.

    May 27, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Now that they have been CRUSHED by Turtle McConnell, can't wait to see Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Rove,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down.

    May 27, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    But but but what about blah blah blah year of the establishment yammer yammer?

    May 27, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    The tea bags embrace Ted Cruz, who cannot be POTUS since he was born in Canada of an American mother and Cuban father, meaning he is a naturalized American citizen (if he's bothered to file the paperwork yet) and not a natural-born citizen as required by the C O N S T I T U T I O N.

    May 27, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Here's a thought: If Ted Cruz's naturalization papers were finalized while Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State, then Ted's naturalization papers would carry her signature (I know, because my naturalization papers have Henry Kissinger's).

    Show us your paperwork, Ted!!

    May 27, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. king

    Why are backward folks still voting tea partiers into congress when they know they refuse to govern. our country us going backward, while china economic and armed forces pass us by. These repubs slashed tea partiers have done reprehnsable harm to this country with their obstructIonary policies. Have someone compared our crubling down infrastructure to China's lately. Please don't because it would be too embarrassing

    May 27, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Chris-E...al

    Any thing to stop the dem handouts to the PPL that would rather put out .

    May 27, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    “Tuesday's results will likely deliver strong grassroots conservatives "

    Yeah. They get any more "grassroots" they'll have permanent Koch Brothers stains on their knee breeches.

    May 27, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. coachkropp

    Dewhurst killed a bill that would have kicked the TSA out of Texas airports for good and had unanimous support from both parties. google it if you want. I used to like this guy, but he clearly lost his way

    May 27, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |