May 29, 2014

THE HILL: Is it Ted Cruz’s Texas now?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wasn’t up for reelection this year, but his presence was felt up and down the GOP primary ballot in the Lone Star State.

The only candidate Cruz endorsed won her primary fight on Tuesday, while incumbent candidates he ignored went down to defeat.

More generally, the upstart candidates who toppled Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst and 91-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall appealed to the same state conservatives who see Cruz as a hero.

“[Cruz] provided a playbook for conservative candidates to overcome the establishment,” said Texas-based GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, who advised John Ratcliffe’s campaign, who beat Hall. “In every race, there was a Cruz dynamic.”

“He showed that if you raise enough money to be competitive, and if you run a good campaign and really mobilize the conservative base in Texas, that it can be done,” Mackowiak continued.

Cruz’s influence is also shaping state races that will influence Texas politics for years to come.

And not just Texas’s.