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Cruz/Dewhurst Texas GOP Senate primary count ongoing — Update: Runoff on July 31; Romney hits ‘magic number’ for nomination

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By Doug Powers  •  May 29, 2012 10:33 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

First, some unsurprising news. It won’t be officially official until the convention, but as of tonight it’s unofficially official:

Mitt Romney hit his party’s “magic number” on Tuesday, unofficially clinching the Republican presidential nomination in a race he entered as the front-runner and has had to himself for weeks.

Romney led the pack when he announced his second run for the White House last June, and he has watched his rivals for the nomination slowly trickle out as their own wins looked increasingly unlikely.

The delegates to put him over the 1,144 necessary for the GOP nomination came in Texas, the lone state to vote this week. Romney entered the day 78 delegates away from the magic number, and on Tuesday CNN projected he would win the state’s GOP presidential primary, where 152 of the state’s 155 delegates were at stake.

On Tuesday, Romney said he was humbled to have secured the requisite delegates to become the GOP nominee.

Another Texas contest we’re keeping an eye on is Tea Party conservative Ted Cruz taking on “establishment” Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the race to replace the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The Houston Chronicle just reported that early returns have come in and “Dewhurst was leading but had not yet clinched the majority needed to avoid a runoff.” That’s the key — if Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who will probably finish third, can keep Dewhurst from getting over 50 percent of the vote, they’ll force a runoff between the top two vote getters in a whole new ballgame at the end of July.

With that in mind, Dewhurst is holding on to 46 percent of the vote with about a quarter of the precincts reporting.

Update: The AP is calling runoff:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and tea-party backed former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz are heading to a runoff in the state’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Dewhurst was short of the majority needed to earn the nomination outright. The two men will now face a runoff election on July 31 to advance to the November general election in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. A runoff also will decide the Democratic primary.

Update: Rep. Ralph Hall defeated Tea Party challenger Steve Clark and another candidate. Hall won 58 percent of the vote, so he avoids a runoff election.

Hall is more than likely on the way to his 17th congressional term.

**Written by Doug Powers

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