I don’t know if the Pony Express is running behind schedule or what, but somebody needs to pop down to the Lone Star State and let them know that the circular firing squad portion of this year’s entertainment is supposed to be shutting down. And yet, the temperatures seem to still be running well up into the red zone in the primary battle for the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. The race has come down to a choice between Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz, and the acrimony became audible recently when a crowd appeared to begin booing… Rick Perry?

A chorus of boos erupted Thursday at the Texas Republican Convention when Gov. Rick Perry repeated his support for U.S. Senate candidate David Dewhurst — an endorsement that has drawn the ire of tea party backers who contend the lieutenant governor is too moderate…

Perry too loves to call for defending the Constitution, and his speech had an arena full of delegates swooning early, laughing at his jokes and loudly cheering his most fiery anti-Washington rhetoric. But those cheers turned to loud and sustained boos from a large chunk of the audience when the governor said, “we need more conservative Texans in Washington D.C., including my friend David Dewhurst.”

Now, I don’t live in Texas so I don’t get to help decide who they send to the Senate, but I think we’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t always end well. Cruz’s people have been planning this run – and lighting up the in boxes of bloggers across the country – since before CPAC 2011. The theme song seemed to be consistent with some campaigns from the 2010 cycle. Dewhurst is “too moderate” and he’s the “establishment candidate” so the Tea Party needs to get behind a “Washington outsider.” (Presumably Cruz.) But these same outsider loving folks used to be pretty hot for Rick Perry during his POTUS bid as I recall, and he seems to think Dewhurst is up to snuff.

I guess the “too moderate” part comes from the fact that Dewhurst effectively runs the state senate and sometimes has to – gasp – work with some of the Democrats in the chamber to get anything done. (And remember… these are Texas Democrats, not Barney Frank.) But either way, it seems to me that this “establishment candidate” meme is getting a bit played out, particularly if it just means that the guy has a resume with some real meat on it.

Of course, I’ve never heard of anything particularly disqualifying about Cruz either, and he seemed like a decent enough fellow when I met him. Still, some opponents have been pinging our in-boxes with questions about his wife’s involvement with Building a North American Community, and asking how solid Cruz really is on immigration issues. (Always a hot topic in Texas politics.) And Dewhurst needs to be careful to not get trapped into some sort of birther distraction and stick to the issues.

In any event, Texas Republicans seem to have some solid choices to pick from. Here’s hoping that they can get this situation nailed down and focus on the real battles to come in November.