Tea Party-backed Ted Cruz soundly defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to replace retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas.
Political analysts closely followed the senate race, which pitted the GOP mainstream against grassroots, conservative activists.
Cruz captured key cities where Dewhurst enjoyed stronger name recognition, fundraising, and political organization.
"We are witnessing a great awakening," Cruz told supporters in Houston after Dewhurst called to concede. "Millions of Texans, millions of Americans are rising to reclaim our country, to defend liberty, and to restore the Constitution."
The runoff brought more than a million Texas voters to the polls despite the stifling summer heat.
Dewhurst, the former state solicitor general, had the backing of the state's GOP mainstream, including Gov. Rick Perry. Many thought he would easily defeat Cruz.
"We got beat up a little bit," Dewhurst told a small gathering in Houston. "But we never gave up."
"We came up a little short this evening, which is something I'm not used to, being short," the 6-foot-plus Dewhurst said. "But we will never stop fighting for our beloved Texas."
Perry released a statement saying Cruz is "a force to be reckoned with, an excellent candidate, and a great conservative communicator."