Cruz won the Texas Republican primary Tuesday night. In Texas, winning the Republican nomination is a virtual lock on a Senate election.
His victory is the latest in a string of Tea Party candidates to tap into anti-establishment frustration within the Republican Party and overcome the steep odds and deep pockets of more mainstream candidates.
Riding a wave of recent successes in the House and now also the Senate, Tea Party groups are eyeing the possible control of both chambers, a prospect, they say, would force Romney, were he to win the presidential election in November, “to move to the right.”
“If we can elect a really conservative House and Senate that will force Romney to go along with our bold conservative agenda,” Shell said. “He’s going to have to really, really go to the right. He’ll be working with guys in the House and Senate. He won’t be able to get away with too many middle of the road policies, especially on things like the deficit.”
Capitol Hill observers note that many newly elected and Tea Party-backed legislators want to remove the taint of Republican-back government spending during the Bush administration. So dedicated are they to the goals of cutting spending, shrinking the deficit and keeping government small, that they are motivated by ideology and not party loyalty.