One of the biggest winners in the Texas runoffs? Ted Cruz.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) speaks during the inaugural Freedom Summit meeting for conservative speakers in Manchester, New Hampshire April 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

The name of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) did not appear anywhere on the primary runoff ballot Tuesday in Texas. But the tea party senator still emerged as one of the day's biggest winners.

Why? Three reasons:

1. The tea party activist he backed for Wendy Davis's seat won. Konni Burton (R) cruised to victory in her GOP runoff for the seat of state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), who is departing to run for governor. In March, Cruz compared the bid of Burton to his own underdog effort in 2012.

2. The attorney general candidate running in Cruz's mold won. State Sen. Ken Paxton easily defeated state Rep. Dan Branch in the Republican runoff for attorney general by 28 points. While Cruz did not officially endorse the tea party candidate, his praise of Paxton was prominently featured in a Paxton television ad.

3. David Dewhurst lost. Again. Okay, so Cruz did not involve himself in the lieutenant governor's runoff. But the fact that Dewhurst -- Cruz ran hard against him and defeated in the 2012 Senate primary -- has been ousted means that a former Cruz foe will soon depart from one of the most powerful perches in state government. Cruz and state Sen. Dan Patrick (who defeated Dewhurst Tuesday), it should be noted, have locked horns before. Still, Patrick backs Cruz for president.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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