Former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz has come from behind to take a lead over Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the Republican runoff primary for U.S. Senate in Texas. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling, a left-wing pollster, called the race "one of the most stark examples of the tea party movement propelling a candidate that we've seen to date." Breitbart News caught up with Cruz between campaign events for an exclusive interview.
Breitbart News: How are things going on the campaign trail?
Cruz: The race is going extraordinarily well. We are leading statewide by 9 points, 49-40. Run-offs [in primaries] are decided entirely by turnout, by grassroots conservatives, and we have an overwhelming lead among grassroots conservatives. We have seen Tea Party leaders, Republican women, and grassroots activists unite behind this campaign.
However, my opponent, who is largely self-financing--his campaign has put over $16 million of his vast personal fortune into flooding the airwaves with false, nasty attacks ads--all aimed at me. And so two things are absolutely critical for us to win this race. Number one, we need to continue raising the money to respond to these false attack ads. To date, we have raised over $8 million from over 29,000 donors in over 950 Texas cities and in all 50 states. My opponent raised roughly the same amount, but from 3000 donors. He is supported by virtually every lobbyist in Austin and by a great many in DC. We are supported by grassroots conservatives all over the country, thousands and thousands of individual conservatives going online to www.tedcruz.org giving us the resources to respond to deluges of attack ads. Number two, we’ve got to make sure conservatives come out to vote next week with the start of early voting, and in the primary on July 31. If we can achieve those two things, we will hold on to our statewide lead and we will win this race.
Breitbart News: Governor Rick Perry is a Tea Party favorite. Are you surprised he backed your opponent?
Cruz: It’s not surprising. Virtually every elected official in the state of Texas is supporting Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst. He controls the legislative agenda in the Texas state senate. And our support has never been the political establishment in Texas. Our support comes from grassroots conservatives throughout the state of Texas. This race is ground zero in the national battle between a moderate establishment desperately clinging to power and the conservative tidal wave sweeping this nation. If conservatives get involved and come to tedcruz.org to donate, we will win this race, and it will be a major victory for the Tea Party and the tidal wave of conservatives sweeping this country. On the other hand, if David Dewhurst is able to buy the race in the last few weeks by flooding the airwaves with millions of dollars in attack ads, it will be seen nationally as a repudiation and loss for the Tea Party, and a victory for the moderate establishment desperately clinging to power.
Breitbart News: What have you said to respond to the attacks?
Cruz: Dewhurst launched a false attack, five days before the primary [in May], in which he falsely accused me of supporting amnesty [for illegal immigrants]. I have been most outspoken opponent of amnesty since day one. And I have been the strongest proponent from day one of doing everything to secure the borders. It’s a desperate and cynical move, and a baldfaced lie--a desperate attempt, as George P. Bush put it, the sort of divisive politics typical of Barack Obama and the Democrats, but which has no place in our party. The big issue in the closing two weeks has been the lieutenant governor’s record on amnesty. In the first debate of the runoff, Dewhurst looked at the TV cameras and said that he had never supported amnesty or a guest worker policy. The next day, the Houston Chronicle broke the story of a speech given in 2007 in which Dewhurst explicitly said that he supported amnesty for every illegal alien currently in the US today. David Dewhurst would grant an amnesty substantially broader than Barack Obama’s amnesty. The president’s amnesty, which in my opinion was lawlessly imposed through an executive order, affects just those who came here illegally as children. The Dewhurst program would give a guest worker permit to every illegal alien in the US. The source for that story was the written text of the speech Lt. Gov. Dewhurst had given accepting award as “Mr. South Texas,” on the official website of the Lieutenant Governor. After the story had broken, Dewhurst ordered state employees to delete the link, and in fact every speech he had ever given as lieutenant governor. He’s not only hiding from his record, but quite literally trying to delete the evidence. By the way, the second major issue is that in that same debate, he looked into camera and said he had never supported a payroll tax, and yet the record is that he loudly, aggressively pushed a payroll tax in the State of Texas. In fact, contemporaneous press stories about payroll taxes in the Wall Street Journal said that they were nothing more than a fancy disguise for a personal income tax, and Dewhurst’s tax would have killed 40,000 jobs in State of Texas. Indeed, Dewhurst had officially praised it in a press release from his own office. So the two major issues at end have both been policy issues where he has attempted to hide from his previous record.
Breitbart News: Why would you want to leave the great State of Texas for Washington, DC?
Cruz: Because our nation is in crisis. We are going broke. Our national debt is larger than our gross domestic product. We are galloping down the road to where Greece, Italy, and much of Europe find themselves. The unhappy truth is that it has been career politicians in both parties that have gotten us into this mess. If we don’t stand up now, we are going to lose our freedom. Our liberties are being threatened from Washington as never before, and we need strong conservatives who will stop it.
Breitbart News: What are your views on foreign policy, since that is something the Senate deals with?
Cruz: We need a senator who will stand unequivocally for national security. There is no issue on which I am better known in the country than national sovereignty and standing up to the United Nations. In the Medellin case, I stood up to the UN, the World Court and President Bush before the United States Supreme Court, defending U.S. sovereignty. And I won a 6-3 decision in which the court held: number one, the court has no authority to order Texas not to execute an illegal alien who murdered two teenage girls; and number two, the federal government has no authority to order a state court to obey the world court.
Breitbart News: How has Obamacare come up in your race?
Cruz: It’s an area of major disagreement between me and my opponent. David Dewhurst says on the trail that he wants to repeal Obamacare. But in 2013 there is going to be an epic battle over Obamacare. In light of the Supreme Court’s tragic decision upholding the law, it is clear that the fate of Obamacare will be decided in the U.S. Senate, not in the courts of law. The Democrats can be expected to fight tooth-and-nail to fight Obamacare. There are a great many who will have the instinct, as Margaret Thatcher used to put it, to go wobbly. If you look at Dewhurst’s record in over a decade of statewide office, he has, over and over again, compromised with Democrats to increase spending and taxes. He would run, not walk, to the table to reach a compromise. I intend to lead the fight to repeal every single word of Obamacare, and to lead in the Senate, so we can repeal the law in its entirety. Moreover, there are significant differences between my opponent and my views on the appropriate role of government in health care. One of his leading advisers is one of the top advocates of the individual mandate that is at the heart of Obamacare. And Dewhurst has said publicly, on the record, that health outcomes in the U.S. are inferior to the outcomes of Europe, which has socialized medicine. Given the enormous battle that will take place in jut a few months over the fate of Obamacare, it would be incredibly perilous to have a Texas senator who wants to emulate the European health care system. Instead, we need a senator from Texas who will lead the fight to repeal every word.
Breitbart News: You’ve been campaigning for a long time. Why did it take so long for conservatives to line up behind you?
Cruz: It has been a long process of systematically building support from the grass roots. A year-and-a-half ago, there wasn’t a soul in Texas who thought we could win. I was at 2% in the polls against a sitting lieutenant governor with name recognition and unlimited cash. What has happened has been extraordinary. We have seen conservatives united across the state--just about every conservative leader is supporting me--and also nationally. From Sarah Palin to Rick Santorum to Sean Hannity to Mark Levin to Dr. James Dobson to Phyllis Schlafly. The conservative women of America, and the gun owners of America. The five strongest conservatives in the U.S. Senate: Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Jim DeMint, and Tom Coburn. We went from 2 percent in the polls to leading by 9 percent statewide. We are on the verge of an historic victory for the grassroots and the conservative movement against an entrenched, career politician with unlimited financial resources. And the only thing that could imperil this victory is if he can pour so much of his fortune into false, nasty personal attack ads that we are unable to respond. And so it comes down to conservatives going online to tedcruz.org in the next 12 days and contributing financially so we have the resources. If we do, we will hold onto our lead and win the race. And if we do, Texas will lead the fight nationwide.
I’d like to make one final point. One reason we have seen so much support from conservatives all over the country is something I call the “Texas multiplier effect.” In Texas, the entire battle is this July 31 runoff. If and when we win, that is the entire race--the general election is not significantly contested. Because of that, on August 1st, my focus is immediately going to turn to helping elect other strong constitutional conservatives to the U.S. senate. And there is no state in the union for raising money for Republican candidates like Texas. Once we have won this primary, that will enable us to bring other strong conservatives like Josh Mandel from Ohio and Richard Mourdock from Indiana down to Texas to raise money to help them win. The only way to repeal Obamacare, to shrink the federal budget, and to turn around the national debt, is if we elect 5-6 strong free market conservatives. And so there is a multiplier effect. And so if conservatives go online to tedcruz.org and contribute now, that will multiply 5-6 times over for financial support for other strong constitutional conservatives for the U.S. Senate. And that’s how we take the Senate and turn this country around from the economic and fiscal precipices at which we find ourselves.