AUSTIN -- For the nation, the top political story of 2012 was the news of a second term for Democratic President Barack Obama.
"Mark the time," viewers in Texas were informed by ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer shortly after 10:15 p.m. "We are projecting the battleground state of Ohio for President Barack Obama, which means you are looking at the President of the United States."
The announcement came as the conclusion of more than a year of presidential campaigning, which included a heated Republican Primary, with President Obama ultimately securing his reelection by a popular vote of 51 percent to 47 percent for Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
"For the United States of America, the best is yet to come," a victorious President Obama told a crowd of supporters in Chicago in the early hours of Nov. 7. On the same night the top story in Texas was the final act in a U.S. Senate race that turned the state's political establishment on its head.
"When we started I was at two percent in the polls and they said it was impossible. They said it couldn't be done," Ted Cruz told supporters in Houston after defeating Democrat Paul Sadler to replace retiring U.S.Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). "But when the people stand together, nothing is impossible."
The Tea Party favorite's Republican Primary run-off win over Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was one of a number of primary surprises for veteran lawmakers which defied many of the most seasoned political prognosticators. Longtime Republican State Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) was similarly defeated by Hays County physician and Tea Party candidate Donna Campbell (R-NewBraunfels), who sat down with KVUE in November at the Texas State Capitol.
"So many people are just tired of the same old politics," said State Sen.-elect Campbell, who rode a wave of Tea Party support to defeat both Wentworth and former state representative and member of the Texas Railroad Commission Elizabeth Ames Jones in primary races. "Whether somebody really was conservative or not, if they had been in the government, they were perceived as status quo."
The anti-establishment wins sparked speculation regarding other longtime leaders, such as three-term Texas Governor Rick Perry.
"Today I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich for President of the United States," Perry told media at a Jan. 19 stop in Charleston, South Carolina. Perry began 2012 ending his presidential ambitions following awkward debates and dismal polling. Just a month later he was hinting at possible plans for another presidential run in 2016 or for a fourth term as governor.
"I don't know what I'm going to do in 2014 yet, but those are all options that I keep on the table," Perry said during a February interview. In more recent conversations Perry has suggested that he will likely announce his future campaign plans in the summer of 2013.
Texas Republicans could face a new force in San Antonio's Democratic Mayor Julian Castro, who catapulted to national prominence delivering a keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. In November Castro's twin brother State Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' 20th congressional district.
"Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation," Julian Castro told Democratic delegates at the September convention. "No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward."
From Castro to Cruz, 2012 launched the next generation of Texas' political power players. With education, guns and health care expected to be major political issues in the coming year, there will be plenty to battle over in 2013.