Sounds of “Congrats Senator Cruz” were ringing across the State of Texas on Tuesday. “Senator Cruz” had just won a grueling, competitive Republican primary in a state so red that it bleeds. Obviously, he became the presumptive Senator at that moment.
Meanwhile, a little known Democrat successfully won a much lower profile campaign to garner his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate and to face Ted Cruz in the general election. Who’s Paul Sadler? Oh yes, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Texas.
The Cruz camp has every right to bask in the glory and celebrate joyfully. There is nothing quite like the feeling of winning a grueling campaign. Just don’t get overconfident………
In 1978, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas had just won a bitter and difficult Democratic primary. At that time, winning the Democratic primary was akin to winning the election. People began immediately to call John Hill, “Governor Hill” and the campaign took a break.
Meanwhile, a wealthy businessman from Dallas had won the Republican nomination for Governor. Who cared? Not many folks.
However, somewhere along the way to the election, this Republican – Bill Clements – began campaigning hard and spending money. Incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter was not popular and the nation was concerned about gas prices, the economy and more.
Bill Clements, of course, had the money to launch a viable campaign and he did.
To the surprise of almost everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, Bill Clements defeated the overconfident Hill campaign to become the first Republican Governor of Texas since Reconstruction. This was the beginning of the changing of the guard in state politics.
In fairness, Paul Sadler is not independently wealthy and will have a hard time convincing anyone he can be a viable contender against the well-funded Cruz. Yet, stranger things have happened in Texas history. Pendulums swing and voters follow tidal waves.
All of the candidates rely on the fate of national candidates, issues beyond their own control and more.
Just be cautious about calling him “Senator” Cruz as there is still the small matter of an election in November.