Splitting Hairs in Texas; Politics; Weather May Be a Factor in a Republican Primary with Similar Candidates

Article excerpt

The men are so near to each other in all their convictions and theories of life that nothing is left to them but personal competition for the doing of the thing that is to be done. It is the same in religion. The apostle of Christianity and the infidel can meet without a chance of a quarrel; but it is never safe to bring together two men who differ about a saint or a surplice.

- Anthony Trollope, "Phineas Redux"

HOUSTON - The average high temperature in Texas on July 31 is 94 degrees, which might matter in the selection of this state's next U.S. senator. Or perhaps the crucial fact will be a residue of Reconstruction.

With Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison having decided not to seek a fourth full term, a May 29 primary winnowed a field of nine competitors for the Republican nomination - and, effectively, for the seat from this crimson state - to two men who are very near to each other in all their convictions and theories of life.

David Dewhurst, 66, got rich in the oil and gas business, which is neither a nest of liberals nor resented by Texans, and for nine years he has been lieutenant governor, which in Texas is an approximation of Caesar. He says that during Reconstruction the federal government imposed carpetbagger governors, so in 1876 Texans wrote a constitution that made their governor the nation's weakest and made a muscular lieutenant governor. He appoints all chairmen and members of the state Senate committees, who serve at his pleasure; he schedules all legislation; no senator can speak without his recognition.

The Ted Cruz campaign says dependency explains why 18 of 19 state Senate Republicans recently signed a letter in support of Dewhurst, who must worry that Tea Partyers and other conservatives look askance at persons who play too well with others. Cruz has degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School. Dewhurst, who played basketball for the University of Arizona, is in the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. Advantage Dewhurst.

Each candidate has endorsements from national conservative luminaries. Cruz, however, has the cachet of someone fluent in the vocabulary of intellectual and constitutional conservatism, and has none of the ideological impurities that result from leading legislative coalitions. Advantage Cruz.

On 99 percent of U. …


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