Update: The tea party won big in the May 27 primary runoff. In the GOP nomination race for lieutenant governor, tea party-backed state Sen. Dan Patrick trounced current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, 65 percent to 35 percent. And in the runoff for the GOP nomination for Texas attorney general, tea party-backed state Sen. Ken Paxton handily beat state Rep. Dan Branch, 64 percent to 36 percent.
Here’s the background:
The two tea party candidates went into the runoff well-positioned to win the Republican nomination. Particularly stunning was Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst’s second-place finish on March 4. In 2012, he was the establishment Republican favorite for Texas’s open Senate seat and lost in the primary to tea partyer Ted Cruz. Dewhurst is likely finished with politics, analysts say.
Dewhurst’s problem wasn’t money.
“The lieutenant governor, who occupies the state's most powerful office, has personal wealth that can provide whatever funds he needs,” wrote Abby Rapoport in The American Prospect after the first round of primary voting. “But Patrick’s fan base is larger – in addition to being a state senator, he’s a talk-radio personality in the state.”