HOUSTON — Ted Cruz, an insurgent backed by the tea party, defeated the candidate favored by Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday in a runoff election for the Republican Senate nomination.
With the come-from-behind victory, Cruz is heavily favored to win the Senate seat being vacated in November by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison and appears likely to become a star of the national conservative movement.
Cruz, 41, is the latest conservative rebel to bring down an established party leader, tapping into simmering anger within the Republican ranks nationwide.
These dissident triumphs include, in this year's primaries, the defeat of Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana by Richard Mourdock and Deb Fischer's win over a veteran Republican for the Senate nomination in Nebraska. They also echo Marco Rubio's Senate victory in 2010 over Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida.
Cruz, who is Cuban-American, has drawn comparisons to Rubio, another youthful Cuban-American who quickly became an icon of fiscal and religious conservatives around the country. Cruz's rapid ascent has already shaken up the Texas Republican Party.
A Harvard-trained lawyer and the former solicitor general of Texas, Cruz defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, 66, who was endorsed by Perry and most other top party leaders.