Senate candidates Cruz, Dewhurst battle over who’s more conservative

June 16, 2012

By Will Weissert, Associated Press

KERRVILLE — The two Texans embroiled in a white-hot battle for the state’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination each addressed the same GOP women’s group Friday and claimed they were more conservative than their opponent.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz sat at tables separated only by a raised podium, but were careful not to cross paths before and after their dueling speeches in Kerrville, about 60 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The pair is vying for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. They face a runoff July 31 after neither got a majority of the votes cast in a crowded Republican field during last months’ primary — even though Dewhurst bested Cruz by about 10 percentage points.

The winner of the runoff looks sure to prevail in November’s general election.

Serving as powerful lieutenant governor since 2003, Dewhurst is the establishment Republican favorite. But the younger and more fiery Cuban-American Cruz is backed by tea party groups.

The race took a turn for the nasty at last week’s Texas Republican Convention, when delegates booed Gov. Rick Perry, himself a conservative darling, for endorsing Dewhurst.

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