- - Thursday, May 3, 2012

AUSTIN — After a decade of building a solidly Republican resume, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is finding it more difficult than expected to make the next step to higher political office.

The man considered the likely choice to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison finds himself under attack in the Republican primary.

Mr. Dewhurst is fending off criticism that he’s not conservative enough despite a record of restricting abortion, cutting spending and advancing other conservative policies in the Legislature.

His top challenger, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, has been gaining in the polls and could force Mr. Dewhurst into a runoff.

The campaign illustrates how Republican politics in Texas has moved to the right since the tea party movement took root in the state.


Lawmaker says Vikings stadium not in plan

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate’s top Republican says a financing plan for a new Vikings stadium won’t be part of a construction projects package.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said Thursday that a GOP stadium proposal first floated Tuesday is now separate from the construction bill because of complications related to using state borrowing to pay for a stadium.

Mr. Senjem says that method of financing is running into snags. Instead, he says, lawmakers are now considering user fees on items such as tickets and concessions to pay for the stadium, possibly with a gambling expansion — a proposal that has been met with resistance from rank-and-file Republican legislators.


Democrats in GOP-leaning races may aid Obama

DES MOINES — Republican-leaning areas in states vital to President Obama’s re-election campaign are drawing top-tier Democratic congressional candidates who, even if they lose, could help voter turnout and boost the Democratic president’s chances of winning a second term.

Perhaps the best example is former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack, a Democrat, who is challenging Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Other key matchups are in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

Mr. Obama hopes to defend states he won in 2008 in part by cutting into likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s edge in key swing-state districts.

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