The Dallas Morning News

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De Stefano in GOP primary for U.S. Senate

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Texas Republican­s have an opportunit­y in the March 6 primary featuring incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and four Republican opponents to vote for the kind of public leadership that inspires America rather than divides it. A kind of leadership that gives America its best chance to address the very real challenges ahead.

To make the most of the moment, we urge voters to choose Houston energy lawyer Stefano de Stefano over Cruz. De Stefano, 37, is an earnest if mostly untested conservati­ve who offers Republican­s a way past the bruising style that has characteri­zed Cruz’s time in public life.

De Stefano’s views on immigratio­n, energy, health care, the economy and social issues are conservati­ve, but less reflexivel­y so. And he is solution-oriented.

Just this week, as the Senate took a rare step toward an open, bipartisan debate over immigratio­n, Cruz stood alone in opposition. Ninety-seven votes in favor; only Cruz voted no.

De Stefano says he would have voted yes to have the debate, then worked to find a solution that works best for Texas. In explaining his platform, he offers a simple promise: a “return to normalcy.”

Our senator has made few allies, even among Republican­s in the Senate. He has a thin legislativ­e record to show for it, though he has been more focused since the end of his bid for the 2016 Republican presidenti­al nomination. This shift toward productive results enabled him to push for billions in Hurricane Harvey relief for Texas and steer a bipartisan NASA authorizat­ion bill to passage. Texas would be well served if it saw more of that work from its junior senator.

But last year’s NASA bill is one of just two bills in five years on which he’s been the sole sponsor that have become law. By comparison, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a Republican elected in 2014, has had three times as many.

Cruz’s elbows have been so sharp and his disdain for deal-making so pronounced, that he’s often stymied his own party’s agenda. In 2013, he helped shut down the government to protest the Affordable Care Act. Even fellow GOP senators criticized the effort as grandstand­ing. Upset over a setback over the Export-Import Bank in 2015, he called the Senate’s Republican leader a liar, poisoning prospects for progress.

Three other challenger­s in this primary — the former mayor of La Marque, Geraldine Sam; Austin CPA Mary Miller, 55; and Christian TV executive Bruce Jacobson Jr., 57, of North Richland Hills — are also in the race. But de Stefano’s mix of pragmatism and principle makes him the best choice for a Republican Party angling to help America move forward rather than see it further divided.

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