Last night, Ted Cruz, who is vying for the Republican nomination in the Senate race to determine who will take over Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat, completed his first task -- he forced the establishment favorite David Dewhurst into a July 31 runoff election.
There's no reason that Dewhurst should be quaking with fear, necessarily -- he beat Cruz last night, 45-34 percent and the polls indicate that supporters of third-place finisher Tom Leppert would break Dewhurst's way by a 3-to-1 margin. But those same polls -- conducted by Public Policy Polling -- nevertheless demonstrate that Cruz's path to victory shouldn't be discounted:
It's all about turnout and enthusiasm. We found last week that 49% of Cruz's supporters were 'very excited' about voting for him. Only 27% of Dewhurst's expressed the same sentiment. Among that most enthusiastic group of voters Cruz led Dewhurst 42-37 for yesterday's primary, and trailed only 48-46 in a hypothetical runoff contest. It's hard to say what turnout will be in July but assuming it's lower than it was yesterday that will work to Cruz's advantage due to the passion of his supporters.
In addition, PPP found that, "Cruz clearly had the momentum in the closing week of the race."
There are some other Senate races (Indiana, Nebraska) in which Democrats believe that a more extreme candidate winning the GOP primary creates an opportunity. That won't be the case in Texas -- whoever wins the runoff is going to be Texas' junior senator.
Paulites To Converge On Florida: While the role that Ron Paul supporters will play at the GOP Convention in Tampa remains unknown, dedicated fans of Paul will nevertheless be coming to the Sunshine State to kick up a ruckus. As Felicia Sonmez reports, a "Paul Festival" is planned for the Florida State Fairgroundson the days leading up to the convention, 10 miles away from the convention venue. Willie Nelson might be there, and while that might end up being the Ron Paul version of "Radiohead is going to play Zuccotti Park," it does indicate that there is a better-than-even chance that there will also be marijuana, hooray! [Washington Post]
The Most Important News About The Democratic Convention...: ...is that there will be lots of booze! Double hooray! Credit goes to a Republican, state Rep. Bill Brawley, who is trying to relax various laws that might prohibit Charlotte-area bars and restaurants from obtaining crucial re-up packages of sweet, sweet liquor in time to serve all of the visiting convention-goers. This is America's one and only example of a bipartisan compromise that's actually worthwhile that's scheduled to occur for the next decade in America. [WRAL]
Steve Guttenberg Is Mad At Obama: Still no word on where the other two men, the baby, or the ghost-boy from urban legend stand on the 2012 contest. Important politics article, though! [Politico]
Let's Give The Whole Third-Party Thing Another Try: This planned independent voters group sounds enough like Americans Elect that it felt it was necessary to immediately and publicly announce that it is not like Americans Elect. It does sound a LOT like Americans Elect, though. However, it is being headed up by "veteran ad-maker Bill Hillsman," and Hillsman has worked with Kinky Friedman in the past, all of which means there's at least a better-than-even chance that they will be way more interesting that most political efforts. And one thing you could never accuse Americans Elect of being is "interesting." [TechPresident]
"Fox And Friends" Campaign Ad Sows Misgivings: The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik, who has defended Fox News in the past when the Obama White House threw up access roadblocks, isn't happy about "Fox And Friends" going all Romney Super PAC on viewers, saying, "Any news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core." And while Hot Air's Ed Morrissey doesn't disagree with the content of the spot, nevertheless hews to his well-known straight-shooter tendencies, saying, "I know the initial response will be that other news organizations offer biased perspectives and hagiographies of Obama that go well beyond a single video … and that response is entirely valid. However, we usually criticize that kind of behavior with other news organizations, too." [Z on TV; Hot Air]
Donald Trump, Explained By Math: Frank Rich writes up "Trump's Political Calculus" by first rejecting the term "calculus," and then going right to the equation: "Trump + infantile public statement x infinite repetitions on TV and Twitter = maximum publicity for flailing Trump products and insatiable Trump ego." Sounds about right, but who knows? Maybe Frank Rich is a "loser" that "bombed at Mar-A-Lago." [Daily Intel @ New York Magazine]
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