Race to watch: Texas Senate

This is the first installment in a five part series covering some of the most important and hotly contested Republican Primary Election contests for US Senate.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the fights over Senate seats. For over a year now there have been a number of Republican Titans and lesser mortals vying to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison as Texas’ representative in the US Senate.

You might expect that it takes a lot of money to run a Senate campaign in a state as large as Texas, and you’d be right. Collectively, the fifteen candidates who filed FEC reports in January reported that they had raised nearly $21 million and spent over $11 million. With the Texas Primary Election date still not set, there is no end in sight to what looks to be a record year in primary election spending.

While everybody and their brother seems to be running (or has tried and dropped out) for the seat, only a small number of candidates are raising significant amounts of money, securing large endorsements or registering in the polls. According to the latest Public Policy Polling survey, only four candidates registered higher than 2%: David Dewhurst (36%), Ted Cruz (18%), Tom Leppert (7%) and Craig James (4%). Dewhurst’s lead has shrunk by 12% since September.

David Dewhurst: The current Lt. Gov. of Texas, Dewhurst is the heavy favorite in terms of money and name ID. He is running on a four plank platform: “Repeal Obamacare, Stop the Obama EPA’s Job-Killing Agenda, Stop the NLRB Over-Reach & End the Wasteful Obama Green Energy Gravy Train.”

He’s been endorsed by a number of state level political organizations as well as Gov. Mike Huckabee and Michael Reagan.

Ted Cruz: Former Solicitor General for Texas and son of Cuban immigrants, Cruz has been running for the Senate since January of 2011. He is running as a strong conservative who has a record of fighting for the 10th Amendment and pushing back against government over-reach.

He has long been a TEA Party favorite and touts endorsements from conservative organizations and stalwarts such as Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, The Madison Project, Dr. James Dobson, Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund and the TEA Party Express.

Tom Leppert: Former Mayor of Dallas, Tom Leppert has been running his race as a serious Jobs creator. He has significant localized support but has struggled to increase name ID as well as shake off former association with SEIU and ACORN.

Craig James: Best known for his career as a football player and ESPN Commentator, James is the most recent entrant into the Texas Senate race. In the two years leading up to his entrance into the Senate race, James served on the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s board of directors. James’ post football scandals are causing him some trouble and led to his distinction as the only Texas Senate candidate to be Google Bombed.

Disclaimer: Raz is a Texas voter and has publicly declared his support for Ted Cruz.

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