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.
10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:
Connecticut House Speaker Donovan (D-Meriden) Now Faces Competitively Republican 5th District [The CT Mirror]
GOP Fundraising Convention In Placer County To Increase Attendance Tenfold [The Sacramento Bee]
San Diego Mayoral Race Pits Rep. Bob Filner Against City Councilmember Carl DeMaio [The San Diego Union Tribune]
Maryland Freshman GOP Delegate Facilitates Referenda To "Tame" The Blue State [The Baltimore Sun]
U.S. Rep. Conyers (D-Mich.) Receives Backing From Gun Control Advocacy Group [The Detroit News]
Single Moms Suffer Within Pennsylvania State Lines As Corbett Slashes Social Spending [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Jeffries Comes Out On Top In The Battle For The 8th Congressional District Democratic Nomination [New York Daily News]
Deval Patrick Pushes The Legislature To Soften Their Stance On "Three Strikes" Bill [The Boston Herald]
Mourdock Receives Blowback From Statements Likening Chrysler Bailout To Slavery [Evansville Courier & Press]
N.J. State Resolution Allows Voters To Decide How Much State Judges Pay Into Pensions [The Star-Ledger]
Tea Party insurgent Christine O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/14/delaware-election-results_n_715598.html" target="_hplink">defeated</a> GOP establishment candidate Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary in 2010. O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/02/chris-coons-defeats-chris_n_765874.html" target="_hplink">lost</a> in the state's general election contest to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
After serving six terms in the Senate, Indiana Republican Richard Lugar <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/dick-lugar-richard-mourdock-lugar-loses-indiana-republican-senate-primary_n_1501416.html" target="_hplink">was defeated</a> by Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock in a primary contest in the 2012 election season.
Former Sen. Bob Bennett was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/08/bob-bennett-utah-gop-senate_n_568988.html" target="_hplink">ousted from his post</a> at the 2010 Utah GOP Convention. Tea Party-backed Sen. Mike Lee currently holds Bennett's old seat.
Before winning another term in the 2010 midterm election, Sen. Lisa Murkowski was defeated by Tea Party-backed <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/26/joe-miller-alaska-candida_n_694559.html" target="_hplink">Joe Miller</a> in Alaska's race for the Republican Senate nomination. Murkowski mounted a successful <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/12/alaska-senate-race-write-in-ballots_n_782724.html" target="_hplink">write-in campaign</a> to keep her seat.
Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/09/sharron-angle-wins-nevada_n_605366.html" target="_hplink">crushed</a> GOP establishment pick Sue Lowden's political ambitions in Nevada's GOP Senate primary in 2010. Angle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/harry-reid-sharron-angle_n_765995.html" target="_hplink">proved unsuccessful</a> in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the general election.
GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton was defeated by Tea Party-backed Ken Buck in Colorado's 2010 Senate GOP primary. Buck ultimately <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/colorado-election-results_1_n_765865.html" target="_hplink">proved unsuccessful</a> in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran for Senate as an independent after beginning his campaign as a Republican in 2010, ultimately fell short in his political operation. Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/02/marco-rubio-defeats-charlie-crist-kendrick-meek_n_765882.html" target="_hplink">defeated</a> Christ and Democrat Kendrick Meek in Florida's Senate general election match-up.