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Leppert faces Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), who has spent much of his own money on the race and led in polls, and Tea Party favorite and former Texas Solicitor General Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (R). He has trailed both in recent polls. The top two finishers in the state's May 29 primary will compete in a runoff election a month later.

Leppert has some institutional support from around Dallas and has been spending his own money heavily to try to make inroads with the electorate. Jeffress, the head of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention who had backed Rick Perry's presidential campaign, caused a big stir by repeatedly saying that Mormonism was a cult.