Even as tea party-backed candidates have struggled elsewhere, the movement is just getting stronger in Texas.
Best embodying that is Dan Patrick. The conservative grassroots star trounced an 11-year, mainstream incumbent to claim the GOP nomination for the powerful lieutenant governorship during Tuesday's runoff.
Patrick could be the second-coming of firebrand U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz -- whose political celebrity was forged in Texas, making it the nation's unquestioned tea party franchise state.
Patrick has promised to push Texas farther to the right, using a fiery and abrasive personal style tempered with the religious fervor of a devout, born-again Christian.
He insists Cruz remains Texas' unchallenged tea party top dog.
But some observers believe Patrick could follow a path blazed by Cruz, eventually becoming a future force nationally.