Ted Cruz, the conservative running for the Senate from Texas, called yesterday to update me on his race. (He is a friend of mine from college.) There are five weeks to go until the primary, three until early voting starts.
Lieutenant governor David Dewhurst is leading in the polls, but is well below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off. In a low-turnout run-off between Cruz and Dewhurst, the latter’s higher name recognition will fade as an advantage and the former’s strength among the most conservative and attentive voters will increase.
Hence, perhaps, the ads Dewhurst is now running against Cruz. The Dewhurst attack on Cruz centers on the activities of the large law firm where Cruz is a partner. Dewhurst rails against Cruz because some of the other partners have contributed to Democrats. “I haven’t met half my partners,” Cruz responds. But he does not want to dwell on the accusations, drawing an analogy between Dewhurst’s strategy and Obama’s. “Their strategy, just like the ‘war on women,’ is to distract. Our challenge is not to go down the rabbit hole of having every week be to respond to the latest Dewhurst attack.”
Naturally, Cruz would prefer for voters to focus instead on his own attacks on Dewhurst over the l.g.’s support for sanctuary cities, a new wage tax, and higher state spending. Cruz doesn’t think he has to match Dewhurst dollar for dollar on campaign spending — lucky for him, since he doesn’t have Dewhurst’s fortune — but he does need enough to get his message out.
He takes the ads against him as a sign of his momentum. Dewhurst’s positive ads are not working, and his only recourse now, Cruz says, “is to carpet-bomb me into oblivion.” That’s not where the Dewhurst campaign wanted to be. “They’re doing it because if they don’t change the dynamic of the race we’re headed to a run-off.”