By DAVID CATANESE –
HOUSTON — Ted Cruz is on the cusp of a win in the Texas Republican Senate runoff that would shatter conventional campaign wisdom and elevate him as one of the brightest stars of the tea party generation.
Even some of his aides concede privately they never thought it could happen.
Yet in the closing days of this dead-of-summer contest in a sprawling superstate, Cruz’s flinty campaign had all the trappings of a celebration, with the 41-year-old constitutional lawyer being feted by the country’s most prominent conservatives, including Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul.