The run-off election between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst is July 31st.
Conventional wisdom says whoever wins that race will also win in November and be the state's next U.S. Senator.
Joe Householder, with Purple Strategies, is quick to point out he's a Democrat. But as a political strategist he says this run-off is working in Cruz's favor.
"Run-offs, especially on the Republican side, are the elections that usually draw people, the kind of folks who I like to say drive by the school every Saturday to make sure there's not an election. And those are the folks that Ted Cruz is counting on."
Householder says Cruz has been effective at turning this race into a cause for tea party voters, while Dewhurst hasn't been
able to tap into that same enthusiasm.
Bill Miller is a long time political analyst in Austin. He agrees that Cruz has more momentum going into tonight's debate and calls the race remarkable and surprising.
"I think that Dewhurst...if the primaries had been held in March with a normal turnout, he would have run without a run-off. But that's not what happened. So you know right now Ted Cruz looks like he might be our next senator and no one saw it coming, least of all David Dewhurst."
Both analysts say they expect tonight's debate to be aggressive and heated, with Dewhurst on the attack against Cruz.
The candidates will debate in Dallas tonight at 7pm. You can hear that debate live here on KUHF.