Ted Cruz clinched the Republican nomination in the Texas Senate runoff race Tuesday night, handing the tea party a major victory and instantly becoming the odds-on favorite to win the open seat this fall.
Cruz, a Cuban-American lawyer who formerly served as state solicitor general, received 54 percent to 46 percent for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst with 20 percent of precincts reporting.
"This has been a hard-fought and spirited primary battle and the people of Texas would have been fortunate to have any one of these well-qualified candidates as their next U.S. Senator. But I could not be more pleased with the nomination of Ted Cruz and I offer my warmest congratulations to Ted, his wife Heidi and their two daughters," National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn, a fellow Texan, said in a statement. "He and his team ran a remarkable race and this is a well-deserved and well-earned victory."