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 CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Florida sheriff asks for new leads in disappearance of Carole Baskin's former husband after Netflix's 'Tiger King' drops 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.