Some Texas Republicans following Ted Cruz Playbook - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Some Texas Republicans following Ted Cruz Playbook

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DALLAS -

Early voting in Texas begins Tuesday, February 17th.

One thing Republican voters will notice is a lot of long time incumbents facing challengers from the Tea Party. Some might be call it the Ted Cruz effect.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is shaking up Washington and others would like to do more of the same.

However no incumbent Republican, it seems, is conservative enough to avoid a Tea Party challenge.

Ted Cruz' surprising, come-from-behind win over David Dewhurst in the Republican Senate Race has energized the Tea Party faithful and given them hope that other entrenched Republicans can also be defeated in primary elections.

Among the Tea Party challengers is Katrina Pierson. She is taking on longtime Republican Congressman Pete Sessions in the 32nd District.

"Ted Cruz is definitely an inspiration for many of us," said Pierson. "The people in District 32 want a conservative leader, a fighter, somebody that's going to go with Ted Cruz and lead on principle," she said.

Ted Cruz is prominent in Pierson's campaign literature. He has not formally endorsed her but his father has.

Pete Sessions has spent two decades in Congress, moving up the leadership ladder.

Supporters will tell you he's among the most conservative members in the House.

His differences with the Tea Party he says are mostly "stylistic."

In a statement to FOX 4, Session wrote, "Simply Voting 'NO' is not an agenda. My opponent and I agree on the same conservative goals. We differ on how to achieve them."

Republican GOP Chairman Wade Emmert admits that tough primary battles could hurt the party but only if the two factions don't unite in the fall.

"I think there's always a time after the primary where there are hurt feelings. But I think as you go on into summer people realize that the true opposition is the other political party," said Wade Emmert.

"We're hoping that in the primaries that we can unseat some of these people," said co-founder of the Dallas Tea Party Phillip Dennis.

"It certainly hurts the establishment Republicans, who are not fond of the Tea Party because we are shaking up their little world, the go-along to get along world up in Washington D.C.," said Dennis.

History shows us that incumbents, supported by the party establishment, are very hard to defeat.

However, Ted Cruz beat the odds and others in the Tea Party are determined to try.

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