U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz has a 10-point lead going into Tuesday's primary runoff in Texas against rival Republican David Dewhurst, according to a PPP poll released Sunday.
Cruz leads 52 percent to Dewhurst's 42 percent, according to PPP. The result shows Cruz pulling farther ahead, up from 49 percent to 44 percent just two weeks ago.
Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor, has spent millions of his own dollars and received the backing of prominent members of the state Republican Party.
Cruz, however, has proven a tough challenger in the race for retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat. Cruz, former state solicitor general, has drawn a crowd of Tea Party leaders to his side, including Sen. Jim Demint (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Sarah Palin has also campaigned for Cruz, including a trip to a planned community called the Woodlands with Cruz on Friday.
“We’re on the 2-yard line," Cruz said during Friday's event, according to Politico. "We have marched the entire length of the field. We started out up in the hot dog stands. ... But we are facing a battle to push it those final two yards. Do the grassroots matter? This race is the test for that proposition.”
The Cruz-Dewhurst battle, forced into a runoff after May's Republican primary deadlocked, at one time seemed a lock for Dewhurst. Fundraising numbers backed up that assumption. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the lieutenant governor has raised $19.2 million, compared with Cruz's $8.8 million. Dewhurst has donated $11.2 million to his own campaign, while his Cruz has spent $795,000.
However, Cruz's ability to attract grassroots supporters dissatisfied with Gov. Rick Perry's (R) leadership has bolstered his unlikely lead.
"Cruz's victory is driven by four things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry," PPP wrote.
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