WASHINGTON — In a long-shot victory that could help define the conservative tilt of the Senate, tea-party-backed Ted Cruz defeated an establishment Republican on Tuesday in the hard-fought GOP primary runoff in Texas.
The outcome is not expected to tip the balance of power in the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats; the Texas seat being vacated is already held by a Republican.
But Cruz's win over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst provides another example of the tea party movement's influence on voters and turnout — even for a candidate who has never held elected office.
"It's been fascinating to watch," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who holds the state's other Senate seat and runs the GOP campaign arm in the Senate. He called Cruz's ascent "well-earned," adding, "Part of what it says is people are mad atWashington, D.C. They're mad at what they perceive to be the establishment. A
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