AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Many Texas Republicans would like to emulate Ted Cruz's rise from one-time political longshot to national tea party superstar.

But in the three-way GOP race for Texas attorney general, state Sen. Ken Paxton has been the least shy about campaigning openly as Cruz's second coming.

In an interview, Paxton said of modeling his campaign after Cruz's 2012 grassroots-fueled U.S. Senate bid: "It works."

Paxton insists he's been able to energize tea party groups while racking up endorsements from political activists and winning small, tea party straw-polls.

In the tense race for the GOP's attorney general nomination, a runoff between the top-two finishers seems likely.

Paxton is hoping fierce conservatives will be more likely to turn out for a second round of voting — potentially putting him over the top.

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