DAPHNE, AL — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is off and running on his “Take Off with Ted Cruz Country Christmas Tour.”
Saturday, Cruz before a crowd of roughly 1,500 people in the Eastern Shore suburbs of Mobile, Alabama, the first of two stops in that state.
At a press gathering shortly before the rally itself, Cruz emphasized the importance of Alabama along with other so-called SEC primary states to the GOP’s nominating process.
“What we’re seeing here in Alabama is what we’re seeing all across the country,” Cruz said.
We’re seeing conservatives uniting, conservatives are coming together. We’re seeing it in the early primary states. We’re seeing it in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada. But then we’re seeing it across that SEC primary. That March 1 Super Tuesday is going to be a critical date in the Republican primary and I think Alabama is going to play a central role in ensuring the next Republican nominee for president and the next president of the United States is a strong and committed conservative.
And what I’m most encouraged about is we’re seeing that old Reagan coalition coming together. We’re conservatives and evangelicals and libertarians. We’re seeing young people and Hispanics and African-Americans and Jewish voters and women and Reagan Democrats all coming together. And the way we win is we stand for the working men and women of this country. We fight a populist campaign on behalf of the working men and women who have gotten hammered by seven years of the Obama-Clinton economy and we run against the bipartisan corruption of Washington that is embodied by Hillary Clinton.
Cruz was formally introduced by hometown favorite Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who months earlier had made an appearance at campaign rally for Cruz’s opponent, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
During the rally, Cruz received boisterous applause when he went through his list of first-day-in-office priorities, which included undoing President Barack Obama’s executive actions, ordering a Department of Justice investigation of Planned Parenthood, halting “persecution of religious liberty,” terminating the nuclear deal the United States negotiated with Iran and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
In addition to those items, Cruz included the repeal of ObamaCare, ending the Department of Education’s effort to institute Common Core, cutting off funding for sanctuary cities and ending welfare benefits for those in the United States illegally.
Cruz got perhaps his biggest response from attendees when he suggested Sessions would be a member of his cabinet.
“For anyone who wonders – can we really, really secure the border?” he said. “I got three words for you: Secretary Jeff Sessions. You want to talk about a Homeland Security secretary that will go down there and build the wall himself?”
Cruz’s appearance is the third of high-profile Republican presidential candidates to visit southwest Alabama in recent months. In August, Trump held a rally at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium and last month, former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson spoke to supporters at an event on the University of South Alabama campus.
In addition to Sessions’ attendance at the Cruz event, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), the congressman representing the district of which the rally was held, made an appearance.
Byrne told a gaggle of reporters that although he was not endorsing a candidate as of yet, he was glad to have Cruz visit the area.
“We should all be honored to have somebody that could likely be the president of the United States here,” Byrne said. “We had a great conversation. I’m still looking at all the candidates. He is certainly one at the very top.”
Earlier in the day, Cruz held a rally in Savannah, GA and will continue his tour Sunday with a stop in Birmingham. After Cruz will make stops in Tennessee and Arkansas before wrapping up his tour with two stops in Oklahoma on December 23.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor