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How does Cruz win over some Dewhurst supporters

How does Cruz win over some Dewhurst supporters

Despite being vastly outspent and having the Republican establishment in Texas against him, Ted Cruz lost to David Dewhurst by only 10 points.  That’s a far closer match-up than most polls were predicting.  Just a couple of months ago Dewhurst was up by a factor of 2-3 times the ultimate margin.

That’s an indication that Cruz has momentum.

The bad news for Cruz is that Dewhurst still received 44.5% of the vote.  Assuming that everyone who voted for Dewhurst stays with Dewhurst, how does Cruz prevent Dewhurst from winning when Dewhurst needs only 6% of the 21% (rounded) who did not vote for Cruz or Dewhurst.  Will those uncommitted voters break more than 2-1 for Cruz?

Turnout may be a factor in a run-off election.  But it’s hard to see how just a better turnout by Cruz supporters can keep Dewhurst from 50% plus 1.

So Cruz needs to win over some Dewhurst supporters.

I have a feeling more local knowledge than I have is needed on this one.  So how does Cruz win?


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Texas Tea Party fans are going to have to work our asses off. Rick Perry is really a shame here. He chose to side with the establishment instead of doing what is best for Texas and for America.

Governor Perry, we will remember.

Dump Dewhurst.

I’m no mavin, but having Palin here in Texas would be great.

I read someone suggest that Cruz should consult Rubio, who pulled of a very similar campaign, which sounded at least plausible to me.

Also, speaking only for myself, DewHurts really whizzed in his Wheaties with the tone of his campaign the last two or three days.

He may “win” with that, but it has already cost him. Some of us don’t forget.

Cruz needs tons of voter education. Dewhurst is a damn good liar and has been able to cloud the issues. Cruz will need a lot of money to spend on educating the voters, separating fact from fiction and show his likability while doing it.
Dewhurst is wealthy and has reportedly spent $10 million of his own money so far.
I doubt a debate will help much. I don’t think many would watch a primary runoff debate.
A Cruz interview by Limbaugh would help, as well as Hannity, Levin and all the local state radio talk show hosts. He should blitz hispanic media.
Increase radio and TV ads. Cruz will need to spend 3X as much money as Dewhurst to have a chance. Dewhurst is richer, smoother, prettier and more well known. Cruz is better on issues and smarter. It’s gonna be tough.

[…] Professor William Jacobson at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion asks the question, “So, how does Cruz win?” I think the answer is fairly simple: He picks up support from the other, non-Dewhurst candidates. […]

Cruz should pick up the support of the non-Dewhurst candidates. I did a quick analysis of Tuesday’s results that bodes well for Cruz.

Cruz is a MUCH better speaker than Dewhurst. He is also much more personable and likable. Even Dewhurst’s friends admit that he comes across as rude.

An entitled rich guy spending his personal wealth to buy an office doesn’t play as well as an earnest long shot who’s working hard.

Cruz has done the best thing he could do already- last night he challenged Dewhurst to 5 debates between now and July 31. Cruz will look better and sound better. If Dewhurst backs down, which he basically did all season, he looks weak. Smart move for Cruz.

BTW, Cruz could use some money, folks! It always helps.

Dewhurst’s ads about Cruz’s representation of a Chinese company were very effective, and Cruz needs money to run ads showing why those ads were deceptive. I think he will get a lot more money now but he needs to focus on that story because it hurt him.

Cruz also needs to focus on long-time GOP voters and senior citizens who (IMO) favor Dewhurst because he’s a reliable GOP name. On the other hand, now that the race is down to Dewhurst and Cruz, some of them may move to Cruz.

This Texas voter whose candidate, (Leppert), lost WILL be voting for Dewhurst. No trial lawyer for me!

Oh, many of you know that I’m not a Perry fan so I cannot be labeled “mainstream” by any means.

    Rick in reply to GrumpyOne. | May 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    With respect, Ted Cruz is not a “trial lawyer” in its pejorative sense. Ted is an excellent appellate lawyer, which is, in the legal industry, the exact opposite of a “trial lawyer.” Ted’s abilities as an appellate lawyer demonstrate his sound knowledge of the Constitutional underpinnings of our society, and he is exactly what we need to further the conservative agenda. It is a shame that his status as an attorney is used against him.
    Disclaimer: I retired after 41 years of legal practice, defending lawsuits brought by “trial lawyers.” They are an unpleasant bunch, even though they can be as charming as John Edwards.

    retire05 in reply to GrumpyOne. | May 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    GrumpyOne, you do realize that the only reason that Dewhurst didn’t go after Leppert as hard as he went after Cruz (which seems to have worked with you) was because Tom Leppert provided no challenge to Dewhurst and Cruz did.

    Now, perhaps you will vote for the guy who seems to be in bed with the RINO, Joe Strauss, but not me. Both of them need to go back home and find something constructive to do other than trying to mess with Texas. It was Dewhurst, with the aid of Joe Strauss, that caved over the anti-TSA groping bill when a U.S. attorney threatened to shut down our air space.

    So, if you want more of the back-slapping, good ole boy politics that we saw in the last Texas Congressional session being sent to D.C., you go right ahead and vote for Dewhurst and you won’t be disappointed. Just call him Kay Bailey Two.

williamchan | May 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I agree with Ragspierre. Cruz needs Palin to stir up new voters who didn’t vote in the primary. He’s not getting the Dewhurst voters, and it’s likely that the Leppert voters will lean towards Dewhurst. But the ones that didn’t vote in the primary can make the difference, if they’re riled up enough.

Ted Cruz has the same problem that Newt had….MONEY!

It is difficult when that happens, but all he has to do is tell the truth to the people and maybe Sarah Palin could come and help him campaign. That would gain a lot I would think.

I hope he can pull it off. It would sure send a message to the establishment that we conservatives mean business.

ConservTexan | May 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm

According to a memo from Dewhurst’s pollster, Mike Baselice, best GOP pollster in state, Dewhurst is the second choice of 50% of Leppert voters, while Cruz is second choice for only 20% of Leppert voters.

Interesting that Ragspierre thinks Sarah Palin would have a strong influence on Texas voters. Has Palin ever even met Cruz in person? Perry, on the other hand, has worked closely with Dewhurst for a decade. Perry also knows Cruz’s reputation in Cruz’s only other state job, as a staffer for the elected attorney general.

One of Cruz’s problems is that most of his prominent support comes from out-of-staters already.

The Cruz campaign has counted on a runoff all along and yes – it is based on lower turnout. It has worked in the past here in Texas as the “zealots” are the only ones who truly show up to vote. That being said, Cruz needs cash to activate the Tea Party base.

TX mainstream pundits are discounting Cruz’s chances even so far as declaring it is already over. But there is a very clear path to victory if and only if Cruz can fine tune and finance his new 60 day campaign.

And for those who kept saying Governor Perry (who endorsed Dewhurst) was a “true” conservative, this should give you pause. Even some supposed “conservative” TX blogs like Big Jolly – endorsed the John Boehner without brains lookalike.

Palin might help Cruz in Texas. Ron and Rand Paul would help, too, and they are already on board.

Kerrvillian | May 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Ground game.

Tea Parties need to get the word out face to face and door to door.

That can overcome the money game. Once he defeats Dewhurst he won’t have the same problem in the future.

Money. TX is a very expensive state to campaign in. Dewhurst’s personal wealth is rumored to be in the 250 million range. I don’t know if it’s that much, but we are talking seriously deep pockets.

Cruz has been trying to introduce himself to the general public against a barrage of false attack ads. No one knew who he was, everyone knew Dewhurst. What people outside of TX may not realize is what a feat Cruz has pulled off thus far by garnering as much of the vote as he did. Cruz has been slowly gaining. The vote was closer among those voting on election day than in early voting.

He needs money, a major ground game, an upbeat message, and to remember that against some types of attacks (not all) a lighter touch in responding can be more successful (remember Reagan’s, “There you go again.”) because it’s going to get even more nasty. Oh, we’ve got a fight coming.

I don’t know if he can pull it off, but there is a chance.

Actually Cruz probably already has won over some Dewhurst voters. Note that Dewhurst did better with early voters than the results of all voters show, meaning that Cruz had momentum and was gaining. I dont remember a poll that had the gap between them down to the 10% that showed yesterday. So some portion of Dewhurst voters no doubt, if given a do over vote, would be just like other Republican voters, and migrate to Cruz.

Dewhurst is going to have to do a lot more than lie about Cruz’s record this go around.

southcentralpa | May 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm

As long as he doesn’t do a Donnelly and run a two-week money bomb while Dewcrist defines him, I think he’ll be alright. If Cruz can get himself out there, he’ll squeak it out. From out here, anyway, it looked like a great deal of Dewhurst’s vote was from name recognition as opposed to solid support.

Go Go Texas Tea Party!

Biggest problems are two: (1) Cruz has been a relatively unknown candidate; (2) Texas has one of the most RINO – “business-as-usual” GOP parties in the nation. And before all of you faithful Texas GOP’ers start yellin’, listen: how many Texas GOP state office-holders are former ‘moderate’ Democrats? How many of even the long-time GOP politicos who are now state office-holders are tied to the same methods as the Democrats were and are? What’s that? That’s getting elected by gaining support from local and state businessmen by promising and giving them state contracts, state tax and other benefits, and favorable regulatory decisions at state and local levels. “Oh, no, Texas isn’t like that!” Really? Who are the biggest opponents of genuine education reform in Texas, when that reform calls for cutting out the state’s education dollars? Building contractors, that’s who. Please face reality. Cruz is as close as we’re going to get to a genuine conservative in the Senate, one who doesn’t have too many ties to the “buy me” boys. But, face the facts: Texas’ GOP establishment is maybe not RINO, but certainly not modern conservative.

Ask the Perry supporters who were not satisfied by Romney or the other candidates but also had reservations about Perrys true principles.

A number of Texas friends were not satisfied with Perry (or Romney) but they are already likely Cruz supporters.

Fluffy Foo Foo | May 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

It’s going to be hard to beat the establishment in Texas when Texas is such a successful state under the establishment.

Escaped from RI | May 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I’m not sure if a lot of Dewhurst supporters are going to go out and vote again in the run off. Turnout was low (at my polling station my wife and I were the only voters there at lunch time) to start with, I would guess it will be lower for the run off.

I also think Cruz started to turn the tide later, he was much closer to Dewhurst among election day voters than he was among early voters.

PrincetonAl | May 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

The path to victory as I see it …

1) Get the message out on numbers. Take away early votes, and the margin difference is 3%. That is spitting distance. Tout that of people who voted on election day, it was a virtual dead heat.

2) Get the non-Leppert votes onboard, if at all possible. This is a couple points, and these are non-establishment candidates with voters who have some degree of passion.

3)Hope Leppert voters lose interest. They probably break slightly for Dewhurst, but if they diminish in turnout, they won’t make the election for Dewhurst

4) Ground game. The enthusiasm difference between Cruz vs. Dewhurst is 2 to 1 among people enthusiastic to vote for their candidates (60%+ to 20-some percent).

5) Keep enough money coming to stay in the race.

Its not easy, but 10% down (3% in same day voters) with 60 days to go is a margin no different than Mourdock’s.

6) Solid messaging

Here, I don’t know.

Dewhurst is not Lugar, and the Senate record to beat up isn’t there, so they have to go after Dewhurst on the things that matter to Texans about his local state record.

Lack of fiscal commitment, crony capitalist, etc. are key to me – but I’m already convinced.

So I definitely would need some insight on what resonates outside the tea party, since as a tea partier I’m already sold.

holmes tuttle | May 31, 2012 at 12:43 am

I think the best approach is to appeal to the Dewhurst supporters who like him as Lt Gov and ask them they’d want to lose him in that position. If he goes to DC he becomes one of a hundred Senators and will have little influence or power. He’ll get lost in the shuffle. If he stays as Lt Gov he can continue all the good work he’s done down in Texas. If they like him so much why would they want to see him og?

Both sides can win here. Cruz goes to the Senate and Dewhurst stays on as Lt Gov doing good things and possibly setting himself up to be Gov in 2014.

Makes sense to me.

One thing I noticed in looking at the returns was that despite the barrage of misleading advertisements (see “trial lawyer” and “chinese firm”), on Election Day, Cruz captured 278,000 votes, while Dewhurst captured 303,000.

That’s a 52/48 split, much closer than the 44/34 tally including early votes.

In a low turnout runoff, and with good advertising/voter education, Cruz may be able to pull it out.

GrumpyOne, please have a look at Cruz’s refutation of Dewhurst’s ads before you firmly decide. I’ve not been a great fan of Dewhurst since he kept the state senate from voting to cap property value appraisals, when the house had passed the bill. Some stupid tradition about rose bushes… (Yes, I know the details, but don’t want to go into them here.)

The answer is actually rather simple: Dewhurst beat Cruz overall, but that lead was entirely due to voters who had never heard of Cruz. Among voters who knew both candidates, Cruz won. So now that the focus is on two candidates one can only hope that those voters who’ve managed to remain ignorant of him will finally pay attention, or else won’t know about the runoff and will stay home.

It’s pretty simple to say how Cruz can win, but it’s up to a solid field operation to execute the plan. Having been a field operative for many years, Cruz has to do three things (and I’ll list them least important to most important):
3. Continue to target and message likely GOP run-off voters (these are the “4 of 4” voters, voters who vote in every election, primary and general, every year) and highlight his conserative bona fides.
2. Gather endorsements of those who failed to make the run-off. Each of the candidates who failed to make the run-off have “on the ground” staff and supporters. Also, those campaigns have e-mail lists of their donors and supporters which would be handed over to Cruz as part of the endorsement. This enables Cruz to exponentially increase his support network and expand his contact reach. It also gives him an expanded potential donor base.
1. It’s all about the numbers. Cruz ended up 10 points behind Dewhurst because of the early voting. This is where a concerted ground effort is critical. Dewhurst will do the same for the runoff. Cruz’s staff must analyze where he did well and where he overperformed (this means areas where Cruz performed well as expected and areas of the state in which Cruz exceeded the campaign’s expectations). This enables the campaign to then target those areas and increase the voter turnout by communicating with the 1 of 4 and 2 of 4 voters who didn’t turn out this past Tuesday. The ground effort has to make sure these people fill out an absentee ballot or actually make it to an early voting polling place. When you have to make up a 10 point deficit, you cannot win by just shifting voters within the confirmed turnout. You must expand the reach and tap into the pool of Republicans who did not vote. That is your only chance.