Ted Cruz wins U.S. senate seat

AUSTIN, Texas - Tea party-backed Republican Ted Cruz has won the race for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat.

US Senate

"I'm pleased to confirm to you that Texas has elected a new senator," Cruz said during his victory speech.

Cruz beat former Democratic state representative Paul Sadler. The ex-state solicitor general was heavily favored since Texas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

He succeeds retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Cruz has become a national sensation since his upset July victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win the Republican senatorial nomination. That race was seen as a national test of the tea party's influence because Cruz painted the mainstream GOP choice Dewhurst as too moderate.

"At issue is what sort of nation will we be," Cruz said. "There are two ways to organize an economy. One: We can continue down to the path to European socialism. More and more debt, spending, taxes and regulation. Or two: We can return to our nation's founding principles, to free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty and to the Constitution."

Cruz has since mended fences with state GOP leaders and says he'll work with both parties in Congress.

"Let me say this: If President Obama means what he says on the campaign trail, if he is interested in working to bring people together, to reduce the deficit and get people working, then I will work with him. But, if he is re-elected and intends to continue down this same path, then I will spend every waking moment to lead the fight to stop it," Cruz said.

Cruz wants to build a wall the length of the Texas-Mexico border and abolish three federal departments.

Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.