Now that Rick Perry is off the presidential trail and Ron Paul is running fourth, the Republican primary race for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s U.S. Senate seat is the state’s biggest campaign news. And with the April 3 election (redistricting-related federal court rulings permitting) now just ten weeks away, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst would like voters to know he’s got this thing locked up.
No, really. Take his word for it.
As Jason Embry of the Austin American-Statesman noted, Dewhurst’s campaign released an internally commisioned poll (conducted by Austin’s Mike Baselice) on Monday showing that the Lite Guv had exactly the fifty percent support needed to win the nomination, no run-off required.
According to Embry, Baselice’s poll had former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert in second place with eight percent, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz at five percent, and former ESPN commentator Craig James at three percent.
Those numbers are very different from last week’s Public Policy Polling survey, which had Dewhurst leading Cruz, 36 percent to eighteen percent. That was five-point drop for Dewhurst and a six-point bump for Cruz since PPP’s last poll. Leppert was in third with seven percent.
Cruz provided a response of sorts on Tuesday, with his campaign issuing a press release that said he was “Effectively Tied with David Dewhurst.” Not among potential voters, mind you, but in an area where Dewhurst’s lead has always been perceived as ironclad—fundraising.
As Kollen Parker of the San Antonio Express-News reported:
So far, the two candidates have gathered close to the same amount from donors, around $4 million. However, Dewhurst’s personal addition of $2 million to his campaign brings his total to more than $6 million since entering the race last July.
In comparison, Cruz has contributed $70,000 in personal funds to his campaign and GOP candidate and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has financed his campaign with $2.6 million in personal funds.
Cruz’s press release emphasized his reliance on individual donors, observing that 10,385 of Cruz’s 12,450 donors in all four quarters of 2011 gave less than $250, with an overall average contribution size of $319, while Dewhurst’s filings up until September 30 (i.e. for just three quarters) showed only 823 donors, with just four giving less than $250 and an overall average contribution size of $2,286.
The Cruz press release also pointedly noted that “not a single third-party poll has ever shown Dewhurst anywhere close to 50.”
The former SMU star running back says he’s runnning because “I believe a calling has come from, number one, my Lord and savior, number two, my friends and family.” (It also appears he’s changed his name to “Conservative Craig James.”) Watch the ad below: