Senate candidates gearing up for primary runoff

Marilyn Tennissen Jul. 17, 2012, 4:50am

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst met with supporters at the Schooner Restaurant in Nederland on Monday while campaigning for U.S. Senator.

NEDERLAND - Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made a stop in Nederland on Monday as he traveled Southeast Texas stumping for his U.S. Senate campaign.

Dewhurst faces former Solicitor General Ted Cruz in a July 31 runoff to be the Republican Party nominee for the seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Both men are touting their conservative background as the core of their campaigns. Dewhurst told supporters Monday that he is the "only proven conservative in the race."

"Criticism that I'm not conservative enough is pure politics," Dewhurst said. "I have a clean record."

In that record, the lieutenant governor said, is that he has balanced the Texas budget five times without raising taxes.

Dewhurst has strong support from lobbyists in Texas. According to a recent analysis of campaign finance data by the Houston Chronicle, Dewhurst received 26 times more money from Texas lobbyists than Cruz. Lobbyists in Washington, D.C., however, are donating to Cruz.

Dewhurst attracted $189,869 from 85 registered lobbyists in Texas, while just four Texas lobbyists gave a combined $11,750 to Cruz, according to the report. Federal lobbyists and their families have donated $120,148 to Cruz. Dewhurst has drawn less than $25,000 from that sector.

Some say it is because Dewhurst gets Texas lobbyist support because he is well known in Austin, and they know how to work with him. If he wins the Senate seat, the lobbyists would work with him in Washington, and if he loses, then they will continue to work with him in Austin as lieutenant governor. Many don't know or have not worked with Cruz.

Cruz has received a lot of support from Club for Growth PAC, a conservative Tea Party aligned group. The group recently spent $1.5 million on campaign ads for Cruz.

While the men try to convince voters which one is a true conservative, in reality they are in agreement on most major issues.

Both want to repeal Obamacare, want a Constitutional amendment to require Congress to balance budgets, want the U.S. Border Patrol tripled and want a fairer, flatter tax system. Both want to abolish the Department of Education and curtail the EPA, but Cruz also wants to abolish Commerce and Energy Departments, National Endowment of the Arts and the IRS.

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