The Ted Cruz/David Dewhurst U.S. Senate race has people excited about politics in Texas. Dewhurst, as the narrative goes, is the establishment candidate. He's backed by Governor Rick Perry, and some have even suggested that Perry has criticized Cruz's out of state supporters –– Sarah Palin and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint –– because of his desire to see Texas senator John Cornyn as the next majority whip.
From what I can tell, the establishment needed to change for this election but didn't. A useful analogy might be to the 2010 Scott Brown versus Martha Coakley race in Massachusetts. Of course, Coakley and Brown were from different parties, while Cruz and Dewhurst are not, but the similarity lies in the way that a poor candidate can fail despite heavy machine support. Martha Coakley blew a 30 point lead, in large part due to her inaction, gaffes, and apparent arrogance, all of which were covered well by Jon Stewart (he's not completely a Democratic hack).
Cruz has been outspent nearly 3 to1, but the polls still have him up by a wide margin. I listened to the radio this morning in which a Dewhurst campaigner was pushing back against those numbers by citing Dewhurst internal polls. Dewhurst citing his own numbers in the face of well-respected numbers to the contrary seems pretty much par for the course for this race and most of the people I've spoken with in Dallas are pretty enthused about Cruz.
In terms of gaffes, Dewhurst is still behind Martha Coakley, but he's had a few. The outrage I've consistently heard has been directed at Dewhurst for running an ad about how Ted Cruz represented a Chinese tire company accused of stealing U.S. intellectual property. The ad has been the subject of an aggressive Cruz counterattack and the individuals I've talked to were mainly lawyers who were outraged that someone's client was being used . Lawyers are charged with ensuring that all parties in a dispute are given a fair shot at accessing the laws of the United States and luckily, it seems that the nation still understands the importance of this function.
For example, Cully Stimson, a Bush administration legal official, was forced to resign in 2007 over his comments that were directed at law firms defending Guantanamo detainees.
The public, apparently, reacts forcefully to accusations directed at someone because of the clients they accept.