Published August 01, 2012
Voters in Texas and Georgia went to the polls Tuesday. Significant races :
— Senate runoff: The tea party-backed candidate in a runoff for the GOP Senate nomination defeated the establishment candidate. Former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz had lost to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the nine-candidate primary in May but won Tuesday's head-to-head race. Dewhurst had fallen short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Cruz painted Dewhurst as a timid career politician too willing to compromise with Democrats. While Dewhurst was supported by Gov. Rick Perry, tea-party activists and conservative leaders from across the country backed Cruz. Their funding and grassroots organizing helped him overcome Dewhurst's financial advantage and name recognition. Cruz faces Democratic former state Rep. Paul Sadler in the fall race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The Republican nominee is expected to win, given that Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.
— 9th Congressional District: Conservative talk radio host Martha Zoller and veteran state Rep. Doug Collins will face each other in a runoff for the Republican nomination for a new seat in north Georgia. Zoller is being backed by Georgia conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain while Collins has been a legislative point man for Gov. Nathan Deal. The winner of their Aug. 21 runoff will face Democratic attorney Jody Cooley in November. The new district, created from population growth tracked in the 2010 Census, leans steeply Republican.
— 12th Congressional District: The GOP nomination in this east Georgia district turned to a runoff Tuesday after none of the four Republican candidates received a majority of ballots cast. State Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown finished first while two Augusta candidates, businessman Rick W. Allen and attorney Wright McLeod, battled for the runner-up spot. Allen finished 570 votes ahead of McLeod, close enough to guarantee McLeod a recount if that margin holds in the official count. The winner of the Aug. 21 GOP runoff will face Rep. John Barrow, Congress' last white Democrat from the Deep South. The 12th District was redrawn last year to remove Barrow's political base of Savannah, which improved the odds that a Republican would win in November. The new boundaries also forced the four-term congressman to move to Augusta.
— Atlanta Gridlock Tax: By a 2-to-1 margin, metro Atlanta voters rejected a proposed penny sales tax to fund billions in transportation projects over the next decade. The issue was on the primary ballot in 12 districts around the state. Supporters included Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who tied the tax to Georgia's economic future and promised that the infrastructure projects would ease traffic for frustrated commuters. Critics derided the proposal as an unfair tax on the poor that doesn't solve the sprawl problem.
Associated Press writers Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., and Errin Haines in Atlanta contributed to this report.