September 05, 2012
The solid win by a Tea Party-backed insurgent in the primary race for U.S. senator from Texas is a significant development, as the winner — Ted Cruz — will be on cruise control to claim the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Hutchison in the fall.
The victor is a lawyer with Ivy League pedigrees, and he upset Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, whose resume is more typical of Texas Republicans, a self-made oil and gas millionaire with deep roots in the Texas establishment.
Cruz, 41, is a fresh face in more ways than one. Cuban-American, he is one of the rising stars in the GOP who provides some variety in the white monoculture of Republican politics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is one of those prominently mentioned as a future star of the party — he was elected governor in 2007 — but others of a new generation were elected in 2010 or since: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Govs. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Brian Sandoval of Nevada.
“For a party that has struggled in recent years to escape the caricature that it is dominated by old, white men, the spate of minority faces rising to statewide office is a welcome development,” The Washington Post commented.
However, the party continues to struggle with every minority group from which the above-listed officials hail: Hispanics, Indian-Americans and African Americans, almost all voting heavily Democratic.
The significant gap remains a problem, even with former President George W. Bush of Texas speaking Spanish and pushing strongly for Hispanic support for the party.
Time will tell if the young guns of the party will be effective as surrogates in their respective communities for 2012 nominee Mitt Romney this fall.