What To Expect As Cruz And Dewhurst Head Toward GOP Senate Nom. Runoff

Two months from today, Republican voters will return to the polls to decide the runoff for the GOP Senate nomination. Establishment Republican David Dewhurst is fending off an insurgent challenge from Ted Cruz, who has significant tea party support. And voters can expect the runoff campaign to get a bit more personal.

In their speeches following Tuesday's primary results, Cruz called out Dewhurst by name several times.  Dewhurst didn't, in keeping with a typical front-runner strategy. Brandon Rottinghaus, an associate professor of political science at the University of Houston, says Dewhurst needs to become more engaged with his opponent.

"To be able to demonstrate that, 'you shouldn't just vote for me because I've been here for longer.  But there are specific reasons why this candidate, my opposition, is not prepared to lead.'"

For Cruz, Rottinghaus says his best strategy would be to show voters that he's a real person, and not just a member of a movement.

"I think that if voters knew more about who Ted Cruz was, then you would see people who were former supporters of Tom Leppert supporting Cruz.  You might see people who are on the fence for David Dewhurst moving over to Ted Cruz."

Rottinghaus says to look for more mudslinging ads over the next several weeks.  He expects Cruz to go after Dewhurst for whatever compromises Dewhurst made with Democrats during his long political career — while Dewhurst will focus on certain clients Cruz has represented as an attorney. 

It's also likely Dewhurst will link Cruz to the unflattering actions of the organizations on which Cruz has served as a board member.

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