If there was a clear winner in last night’s election, it was the tea party. Texas is a tea party state now, punctuated by Dan Patrick’s taking control of the lieutenant governor’s race from David Dewhurst. The entire state has taken a turn to the hard right, and that is the immediate future of Texas politics. How long will it last? What does it mean for the Democrats? Those are the next big questions to ask.

One of the most impressive performances of the evening was Donna Campbell’s reelection victory in SD 25. In a three-way race, she surged ahead to win with 55 percent of the vote. There were also impressive showings by little-known tea party candidates. In the House, two of Joe Straus’s most valued supporters, Linda Harper-Brown and Bennett Ratliff, were defeated, and they weren’t alone. The House will also have a more conservative tilt in the 2015 session, and that will make it difficult for Straus to lead in the next session as he did in the previous one.

( AP Image / Eric Gay )