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Mitt Romney Wins The GOP Nomination as Texas Senate Race Heads for Runoff

Politico: Romney Clinches GOP Presidential Nod Fox News:  Romney Clinches GOP Nomination With Texas Primary Win RCP: Romney Clinches Nomination, Sharpens Attack on Obama Tucson Citizen: Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert Drops Out of Texas Senate Race WSJ: Texas Race for Senate is Headed for a Runoff

Just a few minutes ago, Fox News called tonight's Texas Presidential Primary for Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Here's the Associated Press's report on Romney's success tonight:

Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican nomination for president with a win in the Texas primary.

The Associated Press delegate count shows that Romney surpassed the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination during Tuesday's primary. Early returns show Romney posting a big win in Texas.

It's a triumph of endurance for a candidate who came up short four years ago and had to fight hard this year as voters flirted with a carousel of GOP rivals.

Romney reached the nomination milestone with a steady message of concern about the U.S. economy, a campaign organization that dwarfed those of his GOP opponents, and a fundraising operation second only to that of his Democratic opponent in the general election, President Barack Obama.

The Texas Senate Primary has not had its results announced yet. As of midnight, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst barely led with 45 percent of the vote, with Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz snapping at his heels with 33.8 percent. Dewhurst was expected by many sources to win the primary, but given that his percentage of the vote looks likely to be below 50 percent, he will have to face Cruz again in a runoff in late July. The Wall Street Journal reports:

With 70% of the precincts reporting, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the favorite in the Senate race, had about 45% of the vote, below the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Mr. Cruz, a 42-year-old former Texas solicitor general, followed with about 33% of the vote.

The men are now set to square off July 31 in the runoff with the winner considered a decided favorite in the general election.

Mr. Dewhurst, who is backed by Gov. Rick Perry, has long held an edge in polls thanks to his widespread name recognition in the state, where he has been lieutenant governor since 2003. He also has also benefited from a personal fortune, made in the energy business, that has helped him finance his campaign and blanket the airwaves with ads. His campaign has spent $11.5 million, according to a report from the Federal Election Commission, more than twice the amount spent by Mr. Cruz.

But Mr. Cruz's grass-roots campaign has gained momentum in recent months, aided by endorsements from such conservative stalwarts as Sarah Palin and heavy spending by the small-government group Club for Growth. Mr. Cruz follows in the footsteps of Senate challengers who have had strong showings in Indiana, Nebraska and Utah.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, the third place finisher in the Texas Senate Primary, conceded the race after a weak third place finish.

One last thing…
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