National Journal | By Kevin Brennan | Updated: July 31, 2012 | 10:23 p.m.
With his dreams of ending his accomplished political career in the U.S. Senate unraveling, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst turned to a familiar face. In the final television ad Dewhurst’s campaign released before Tuesday’s loss to Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry pleaded with Republican voters to join him in supporting Dewhurst, once considered an overwhelming favorite, in the runoff for the GOP nomination in Texas’s Senate race.
The image of Perry touting Dewhurst’s conservative credentials had become a familiar one to anyone following the race. With Cruz attracting visits from an array of national conservative stars — from Sarah Palin to Rick Santorum to Jim DeMint — Dewhurst played up his support from Lone Star State conservatives. Perry represented his best argument, and the governor took on an increasingly visible role in the final weeks of the campaign.
But Perry’s help — and that of several longtime Perry aides working for Dewhurst — proved insufficient to stem the tide of anti-establishment momentum enveloping Dewhurst’s campaign. Despite spending upwards of $20 million of his own money and a decade spent in the public eye, Dewhurst fell to a political novice who emerged from relative obscurity to stamp his ticket to Washington on Tuesday. In the process, Perry’s political image suffered another embarrassing setback in a year filled with them.
“Certainly the view of him as this invincible electoral and political juggernaut is gone,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.