In the closing days of Texas’ primary run-off election for U.S. Senate, momentum on the Republican side seems to be clearly with tea party favorite Ted Cruz.
Most polls suggest Cruz is in the driver’s seat for this Tuesday’s vote. The 41-year-old constitutional lawyer has rolled up endorsements from some of the nation’s top right-wing celebrity figures over the past few months, including the backing of Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Jim DeMint and Rand Paul.
“We’re on the 2-yard line. We have marched the entire length of the field. We started out up in the hot dog stands,” Cruz joked Friday evening. “But we are facing a battle to push it those final two yards. Do the grass roots matter? This race is the test for that proposition.”
Hundreds of thousands have already voted, which is what Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is banking on to carry him to a surprise victory.
“Our polling has shown that the momentum peaked for Mr. Cruz several weeks ago and that the momentum is going back over to our campaign and our polling shows us ahead,” Dewhurst told reporters on Wednesday.
Dewhurst has outspent Cruz by a 3-1 margin and was expected to waltz to an easy win at one point.
”There’s an intangible feeling out there that he’s got the momentum,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said of Cruz. “He’s a genius. He’s the candidate to beat, he’s the candidate who is going to win.”
In Texas, the race to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is all about the GOP primary. Wheoever wins on Tuesday will almost certainly head to Washington in January. Democrats’ prized recruit — former general Ricardo Sanchez — crashed and burned early in the race, leaving behind a field of barely known figures.