Ted Cruz: Obviously. Anyone saying that someone else was the big winner of the evening has an agenda, or is pulling for Paul Sadler. The simple fact is Ted Cruz faced withering personal attacks from Dewhurst and beat him by double digits. The overall vote count in the race was somewhere around 1.1MM w/ Cruz taking around 680K of those votes.
The Anti-Incumbency movement: On the Republican side, incumbents were the real losers. Medina, Miller, Wentworth. If you were an incumbent Republican you had a better than average chance of getting voted out. Some consultants are already trying to spin this as having nothing to do with the Tea Party but they're paddling outside of the water. This certainly was the Tea Party election, time will tell whether or not this volatile group can sustain their current momentum.
Indy Media: There has been much better analysis and tea-leaf reading by bloggers & alt-media professionals on this race than anything being written by the so-called "experts" of the MSM (more on them later.) If you're still going to your newspaper or Texas Monthly (although that's about to change w/their recent hiring of Josh Trevino) exclusively for your political opinion you're missing out.
Losers: (more of these than winners)
David Dewhurst: Any list not mentioning him first is just wrong. The sexy pick (for the MSM) is Rick Perry, but these have to be taken with a huge grain of salt because of personal vendettas. Dewhurst had every advantage going into this race and he, for lack of a better term, blew it. Already the sharks are in the water. Jerry Patterson sent out a text saying that he "respected Dewhurst" but was running against him in 2014. When he fell behind Dewhurst went scorched earth. If that resonates then a candidate can emerge stronger. If the voters reject it then there are a lot of hard feelings and the candidate is weakened. David Dewhurst is a weakened candidate right now. That said, voters can have short memories.
Stan Stanart: This is a Harris County specific issue granted, but no elected official took it on the chin during the night quite like Harris County's Republican Clerk. During election night, the Clerk has one job. Post the election results accurately and timely. On the latter part, Stanart's shop failed. And his excuses saying that "Reliant gave us some garbage lines" ring hollow considering he was slow during the first round of elections as well. Stanart is one of the growing ranks of County politicians running for local, technical jobs using sweeping national rhetoric. Perhaps it's time for the Republicans to find candidates who are willing to handle the requirements of the job for which they're elected first, BEFORE trying to save us from the evils of DC?
Paul Burka: Ah Burka the clown. What else can you say about a guy who authored four "live blog" election posts and couldn't even get the numbering sequence right. I, II, IV, V It's also funny to see Burka try and re-cast himself as calling it for Cruz from the outset. If anything, Burka called this race wrong early and has been trying to back-track every sense. His analysis is hackery, too often propped up by uncorroborated "staffers" and little else. He's a Selectric talking head in a digital world. Texas Monthly was right to go and snag Josh Trevino to increase the credibility of their political opinion. One last note: In his post mortem Burka casts Rick Perry as the "big loser" of the evening That's bunk. I'm going to name four people here that were bigger losers than Perry, and I'm not even going to touch on Straus, who seems to have taken another hit in his power base. It's one thing to hold a personal grudge against an elected official as Burka (And Wayne Slater) seem to have against Rick Perry. It's another to allow it to color every inch of your analysis.
At least they didn't hurt themselves:
The Texas Democratic Party: I could call this a "win" given the recent past of this group, but when your nominee comes out and calls himself the "only major party nominee" for the US Senate and says that his opponent is outside of the mainstream, despite losing in the vote count by a total of 5-1, then really it's not a victory at all. "Radical", "Crazy" and vulgarities are all the Democrats have right now. I had a brief Twitter discussion with a Democratic talker last night discussing whether Cruz left them room to make a case. I think there is room, but the State Democratic Party doesn't have the intellectual firepower to make it right now. To compete in Texas the Dems need three things that they don't currently have: Competent candidates (these take time to grow), a winning message (They haven't learned to play to the crowd) and better campaign consultants. (Good luck) Whoever decided that Sadler coming out in his first big minute in the sun and insulting 680K Texas voters would be a good idea needs to be summarily dismissed from the campaign. That won't happen, which is why they're going to get trounced (again) in November.
*Thanks to Kevin Whited for pointing out my obvious typo. (not that Jay Carney would ever be termed a "winner".)