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The Brief: July 26, 2012

With election day quickly approaching, the U.S. Senate race appears poised to end in a flash of conservative star power.

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The Big Conversation:

With election day quickly approaching, the U.S. Senate race appears poised to end in a flash of conservative star power.

As reported Wednesday, a stream of national conservative figures will descend on Texas starting today to show their support for Ted Cruz ahead of Tuesday's runoff election.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., will attend a rally in The Woodlands on Friday. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum will then campaign with Cruz over the weekend.

Though one or two of those figures would likely be considered a major get for a candidate competing in a late July runoff, FreedomWorks, the Washington, D.C.-based conservative group led by former Texas Congressman Dick Armey, will also hold a rally in Dallas tonight at the American Airlines Center featuring Cruz, Armey, radio personality Glenn Beck, and U.S. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

As Politico put it, "Judging from the roster of conservative luminaries who are coming to Texas to campaign for Ted Cruz in the run-up to the July 31 GOP runoff, it might not be accurate to call him an insurgent anymore."

Meanwhile, Cruz's opponent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, his been campaigning this week with Gov. Rick Perry, who has accused outside groups like FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth of coming into Texas "with no regard to the state."

As Dewhurst spokesman Mark Miner tweeted Wednesday of the conservative stars lining up for Cruz: "Contrast clear. @DavidHDewhurst campaigns with @GovernorPerry. @teDCruz campaigns with non Texans."

Whether figures like Palin, Santorum and Beck will be able to sway Texas voters remains unclear, but their presence in Texas virtually ensures that Cruz will be grabbing headlines heading into Tuesday.

Culled:

  • Bucking predictions that a late July election would struggle to draw Texans to the polls, figures from the first two days of early voting show turnout far outpacing predictions — and so far even beating the first two days of early voting in the May primary. According to the Austin American-Statesman, 172,405 people in the 10 counties with the highest number of registered voters cast ballots in the Republican runoff on Monday and Tuesday, compared with 91,352 during the first two days of early voting for the primary. Turnout won't likely beat that of the primary — the early voting period for the runoff only lasts five days, compared with the primary's 12 days — but could far surpass expectations if numbers stay high. Early voting polls remain open through Friday.
  • David Dewhurst over the years has usually emphasized his business record over his military experience. But as the Tribune's Aman Batheja and John Wayne Ferguson report, Dewhurst appears to have grown increasingly comfortable using time in the military and the CIA to contrast himself with Ted Cruz
  • Two new attack ads have inflamed the Congressional District 33 primary battle in Dallas between Domingo Garcia and Marc Veasey, already one of the state's hottest Democratic runoffs. Veasey's ad attacks Garcia for calling some local neighborhoods "ghettos," while Garcia's spot accuses Veasey of "voting with Republicans to take money from poor families" and of voting in a Republican primary.

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