Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Ted Cruz: Time Was on His Side

Bookmark and Share

The nine week gap between the primary and runoff elections is the longest for any U.S. Senate run-off in Texas history

tedcruz10.jpgAlthough both Democrats and Republicans will have runoff elections on Tuesday to determine who will square off in the state's U.S. Senate race this November, it is the GOP contest that is getting all the attention.

Former Texas Solicitor General and Tea Party-backed candidate Ted Cruz first made waves at the end of May when he forced a runoff by helping to hold Lieutenant Governor and establishment candidate David Dewhurst to 44.6 percent of the vote.

Cruz received 34.2 percent in second place.

And now, in the closing days before Tuesday's runoff, a survey by Public Policy Polling shows Cruz now up on Dewhurst by a 10-point margin, 52 to 42 percent.

It is not unusual for the second place finisher in Texas U.S. Senate primaries to come back and win the runoff.

In fact, it has happened in eight out of the 14 such runoff contests for Democrats and Republicans dating back to the direct election of U.S. Senators nearly a century ago.

The runner-up in the primary won the runoff race in 1916 (Democrat Charles Culberson), 1928 (Democrat Tom Connally), 1948 (Democrat Lyndon Johnson), 1972 (Democrat Barefoot Sanders), 1984 (Democrat Lloyd Doggett), 1988 (Republican Beau Boulter), 1994 (Democrat Richard Fisher), and 2002 (Democrat Ron Kirk).

But what is unusual, and what appears to have helped sustain Cruz's momentum coming out of the May primary, is the length of time between the primary and the runoff.

A Smart Politics review of Texas U.S. Senate election data finds that the gap between the 2012 primary and runoff elections is twice as long as the historical average across the 14 previous instances of run-offs for the nation's upper legislative chamber.

Ted Cruz enjoyed a nine-week gap between the May 29th primary and the July 31st runoff to give him the time (and much free publicity in the media) to try to convince Republican voters in the Lone Star State that he was a viable and the preferred candidate to send to Washington, at a time when his opponent was trouncing him in the fundraising war.

Through mid-July, Dewhurst had raised more than $24.5 million compared to just $9 million for Cruz.

The longest previous gap between the two elections during cycles in which Texas U.S. Senate contests went to a runoff was just five weeks - most recently in 1988, 1994, and 2006.

During several cycles the length of time between the two elections was as short as four weeks, such as in 1996, 2000, and 2002.

Overall, the 63-day window between the primary and the runoff in 2012 is twice as long as the 31.5-day average over the last 14 cycles in which the race was forced into a runoff.

Of course, turnout is always a big question mark in elections such as this - will voters be motivated to go to the polls for the second time in nine weeks, and, if so, to back which candidate?

Turnout has historically declined 34 percent in Texas U.S. Senate runoff races from the primary over the last century, including a 45 percent drop in the five such contests since the 1990s.

On the Democratic side, primary plurality winner and former state representative Paul Sadler will square off against second place finisher Grady Yarbrough.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Will the 113th Congress Have a Record Number of Female Senators?
Next post: Bachmann July Haul Shy of Q3 2010 Pace

1 Comment


  • thanks alot i like this blog

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Small Club in St. Paul

    Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


    Respect Your Elders?

    With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting