Tea party big factor in runoff races

Cruz, Campbell win big in South Texas elections

SAN ANTONIO - A key factor in several of the runoff races in San Antonio and south Texas was the impact of the tea party.

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There's no question the group is a political force to be dealt with, according to political science experts.

Senatorial candidate Ted Cruz scored a decisive victory over his well-financed and well-known opponent, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Tuesday night.

"I was very surprised at how big the victory was for Cruz," said Trinity University political science professor Dr. David Crockett.

The surprise, he said, was the margin of victory.

Cruz -- like Dr. Donna Campbell, who won the Republican runoff in the Dist. 25 state Senate race -- got heavy tea party support.

Both say that made the difference.

"When you have a low-turnout election, it's those who are most motivated who are going to have the biggest impact and that's what you saw," Crockett said.

The question now becomes whether the tea party's strength in the run-off will be there for candidates like Cruz and Campbell in November and if the tea party will have an impact on the presidential race.

"A lot of it will depend on who has the passion," Crockett said. "(President) Obama got that four years ago. But I don't get the sense that he has as much of it this time."

Crockett said the tea party's strength is drawn from voters who are disenchanted with the government and those numbers continue to swell.

"As long as groups like this continue to have an impact, they have life and they live to keep on fighting," said Crockett said.

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