We have debated through the years whether Oklahoma should save time and money by doing away with runoff elections and instead going to winner-takes-all primaries. Ted Cruz’s victory this week in Texas is an endorsement of the runoff system.
In late May, Cruz lost by 10 points to longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Dewhurst came up just 5½ points shy of winning that election outright.
But in Tuesday’s runoff, Cruz throttled Dewhurst by a whopping 13 points.
Oklahoma has seen similar stories through the years. Most notable was Brad Henry, a long shot early in the 2002 race for governor. Henry survived the Democratic primary to make it into a runoff against better-known Vince Orza, won the runoff, then upset Republican Steve Largent in the general election.
Those second chances can make a difference, which is why runoffs in Oklahoma aren’t going anywhere any time soon.