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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Make room, Sen. Rubio, for another Cuban American, tea party Republican star



tednrcover-775x1024.jpgYoung. Cuban-American. Republican. Tea party favorite. Longshot turn giant killer in a U.S. Senate race.

We're talking Ted Cruz, of course, not Marco Rubio.

Cruz, 41, tonight won a stunner of a runoff with an establishment Republican in Texas and is a lock for the general election in November. Cruz was hailed as the next Marco Rubio and his backstory is compelling. His father fled Cuba (pre-Castro) and made his way to Texas to find work as a dishwasher.

The younger Cruz, who was born in Canada, made it to Princeton and Harvard, worked for President George W. Bush and was appointed solicitor general of Texas. Unlike Rubio, he's a newcomer to elective politics.

Despite the commonalities, Rubio never put his weight behind Cruz and that drew questions tonight.

"1 puzzle of race: why didn't Rubio endorse in it? Never got an answer from his office," tweeted Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review, which can claim some credit for elevating Rubio in 2010.

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant tweeted back, "He hasn't endorsed in any primaries; trusts voters to decide."

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:19am]


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