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A look at Tuesday's primaries in Texas and Georgia
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: In north Georgia, three Republicans are competing for the GOP nomination for a new seat gained from population growth tracked by the 2010 Census. The race pits conservative talk radio host Martha Zoller against veteran state Rep. Doug Collins and retired school principal Roger Fitzpatrick. While Zoller has been endorsed by conservative stars Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain, Collins served as a legislative point man for GOP Gov. Nathan Deal, whose hometown of Gainesville is in the district. The new district leans steeply Republican, which will present a difficult challenge for Democratic attorney Jody Cooley in November.
¯¯¯12th Congressional District: Four Republicans in east Georgia are running for the GOP nomination to oppose Rep. John Barrow, Congress' last white Democrat from the Deep South. His 12th District was redrawn last year to remove his political base of Savannah, improving the seat's odds for Republicans and forcing the four-term congressman to move to Augusta. State Rep. Lee Anderson, a farmer, faces construction firm owner Rick W. Allen, attorney and retired Navy pilot Wright McLeod and attorney Maria Sheffield. Their primary race is almost certain to end in a runoff Aug. 21. All four Republican contenders have dedicated six-figure sums of their own money to the primary campaign, their personal loans totaling $668,000.
¯¯¯Atlanta Gridlock Tax: The metropolitan area has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. The region's political and business leaders are pushing for a 1-cent increase in the sales tax to pay for billions of dollars in highway improvements and other transportation projects. A dozen regions across Georgia will vote independently on the tax increase, which could generate more than $18 billion statewide for transportation projects over the next decade. Gov. Nathan Deal and other pro-business Republicans supporting the tax increase are at odds with tea party leaders who argue that government can't be trusted to manage the tax revenue responsibly. Black Democrats say the plan devotes little to mass transit and overlooks some sections of the city. Environmental groups fear more pollution and development.
Associated Press writers Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., and Errin Haines in Atlanta contributed to this report.