GOP-dominated Texas backs Romney, Cruz

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 12:45 am •  Published: November 7, 2012
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DALLAS (AP) — Texas voters made Ted Cruz the state's first Hispanic U.S. senator but their overwhelming support for fellow Republican Mitt Romney wasn't enough to keep Democratic President Barack Obama from winning re-election to a second term.

The GOP dominance at the top of the Texas ticket was no surprise. Democrats haven't won statewide office in Texas since 1994, the longest state losing streak for the party in the country.

Romney won Texas' 38 electoral votes by building a nearly 3-2 margin lead over Obama but lost the overall prize.

In the balloting to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Cruz similarly topped underfunded former Democratic state Rep. Paul Sadler. Cruz was virtually unknown as a former state solicitor general before he used tea party backing to emerge from a crowded GOP primary field as runner-up to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, then swept by the mainstream party choice in the runoff to clinch the Republican nomination.

In congressional races, Texas is getting four new representatives thanks to adding 4.3 million residents between 2000 and 2010, bringing the delegation count to 36. Republicans took 22 seats Tuesday and Democrats captured 14, highlighted by state Rep. Pete Gallego's narrow ouster of freshman Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco in a sprawling district stretching from San Antonio to eastern El Paso County.

In another high-profile contest, Republican state Rep. Randy Weber slipped by former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson in the Gulf Coast district being vacated by retiring Republican Ron Paul.

In the Legislature, Republicans lost the 102-vote supermajority in the House that had allowed them to pass legislation even if their Democratic colleagues failed to show up for work, but still maintained their grip on the chamber.

And in the state Senate, an expensive and increasingly nasty battle ended with Fort Worth Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis taking a narrow victory over challenger and tea party Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton. Davis' triumph leaves Republicans with a 19-12 advantage. Under the Senate's traditional rules, a bill needs 21 votes to make it to the floor for debate, and Republicans were fighting for every possible seat to achieve a supermajority that can suspend the rules.

Among the Senate winners was Democrat Mario Gallegos, Jr., an incumbent from Houston who died in October of liver failure. A special election will be held to fill his seat.

Cruz told supporters in Houston if Obama followed through on campaign promises to bring people together to reduce the deficit and get people working, "then I will work with him."

But Cruz said if Obama did not, "then I will spend every waking moment to stop it."

"My pledge to you is to work every single day in the U.S. Senate to champion small business and entrepreneurs and help them do what they do best, create jobs and get America working again," he said.