Ted Cruz '92 (Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)

Despite his credentials as a former Texas solicitor general and successful lawyer in private practice, Ted Cruz ’92 was an underdog when he started his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. Frontrunner David Dewhurst, a lieutenant governor who had spent more than a decade in statewide office, topped Cruz and seven other Republican rivals in the state’s May 29 primary.   But Cruz, the second-place finisher, found new life when Dewhurst earned 48 percent of the vote, just shy of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Last month, Cruz surged in the polls, propelled by Tea Party support and a strong social-media following. He completed his unlikely rise July 31, winning the Republican nomination by more than 150,000 votes in the runoff, and now finds himself as the favorite in a November showdown against Democrat Paul Sadler.   As the week’s rising star, Cruz promptly took to the Sunday morning talk shows, making his national TV debut on Fox News Sunday. Cruz called his win “part of a tidal wave” sweeping the country’s elections. “Voters are tired of career politicians in both parties,” he said. “Our country is at a crisis point right now. And we’re seeing – and this is true all over the country – that the American people are looking for new leaders who will step up and stop spending money we don’t have.”

Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant father, majored in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, wrote a senior thesis on the ninth and 10th amendments, and excelled on the debate team. He went on to Harvard Law School, clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and became the youngest state solicitor general in the nation in 2003.