The Big Conversation:
David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz on Wednesday wasted no time jumping back into the political ring.
The two U.S. Senate candidates, who on Tuesday were forced into a runoff after Dewhurst captured 45 percent of the vote to Cruz's 34 percent, renewed the bruising attacks they launched against each other during the heated primary, as The Dallas Morning News reports.
Dewhurst, appearing on conservative host Laura Ingraham's national radio show, again tried to tie Cruz to amnesty for illegal immigration by way of two boards on which Cruz has served. (When pressed by Ingraham to name the groups, though, Dewhurst suffered a bit of a memory lapse.)
Cruz, who has repudiated the allegations, fired back on Wednesday, citing the lieutenant governor's attacks in a fundraising email titled “Showdown: Cruz vs. the Establishment.”
The line of attack from both campaigns mirrored the final days of the campaign, when Dewhurst released a radio ad featuring the amnesty allegation and Cruz denied the claims while continuing to cast himself as a fiery insurgent taking on an entrenched moderate.
Cruz will surely maintain that line of attack as the July 31 runoff nears, and he'll likely have help from one of the groups that spent millions of dollars on his behalf during the primary. Barney Keller, a spokesman for the conservative Club for Growth, told the Morning News that the group “will continue to invest in Texas’ Senate race during the runoff. … Stay tuned."
But Dewhurst will have some help of his own, too. Rob Johnson, co-founder of the Texas Conservatives Fund, a pro-Dewhurst Super PAC that aired ads attacking Cruz, told the News that the group would be airing more spots before the runoff.
- House Speaker Joe Straus opened up Wednesday about Tuesday's election, which didn't treat him too kindly. Though Straus easily beat back a primary challenger, Matt Beebe, three of his House committee chairs were defeated, and one was forced into a runoff. The same day, state Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, filed to run against Straus for speaker in 2013. Straus, though, said he "felt good" about Tuesday's results and that he was confident he would win another term as speaker. He also had strong words for conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan, who went after him in his primary race. "He was spectacularly unsuccessful. And frankly, I don't consider him much of a factor," Straus said. "His biggest problem with me is that I keep succeeding. We've got a conservative House here, and he's not part of it."
- Longtime U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, officially conceded the Congressional District 16 race to challenger Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday. "My staff and I are ready to work with the new Congressperson and their incoming staff to transition the office and to continue the vital work it provides this community,” Reyes said in a statement, which came less than a day after he told the El Paso Times that O’Rourke "deliberately ran a nasty, dirty campaign."
- Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst aren't the only candidates headed to high-profile runoffs in July. The Tribune's Julián Aguilar has a look at some of this year's runoffs, in which victory for candidates will likely depend on the size of the race and their money on hand.
"I don't see a lot of teeth there, in his bite. I think he is very much out of touch with conservatives. He's certainly out of touch with the conservatives that I represent." — House Speaker Joe Straus on Michael Quinn Sullivan
- Ouster of a Texas Democrat Casts Light on U.S. Drug War, Time
- Leppert’s loss could be path to political future, The Dallas Morning News
- Ron Paul’s political geography — his strengths and weaknesses, Houston Chronicle
- A&M-S.A. lecturer says she was harassed over stance on crosses, San Antonio Express-News
- Video: State Government and Family Planning, The Texas Tribune