Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) has been forced into a primary runoff and trails his challenger, conservative Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick (R).

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Patrick leads Dewhurst by 43 percent to 28 percent with 24 percent of precincts reporting. The Associated Press has called that the race will head to a runoff. 

Dewhurst's career has plummeted since 2012 when he was the front-runner for an open Senate seat.

Now-Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzHealthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Overnight Healthcare: GOP infighting erupts over bill | How Republican governors could bring down ObamaCare repeal | Schumer asks Trump to meet with Dems GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill MORE (R-Texas) beat him in that race and hurt his reputation badly with Texas conservatives, and Patrick has given him a surprisingly tough battle by running a campaign focused on an appeal to the state's social conservatives.

Patrick appears to have the upper hand in the May 27 runoff election, though he's a polarizing figure with some Texas Republicans.

This post was updated at 9:05 a.m.