Morton Blackwell, the conservative icon who founded the Leadership Institute in 1979 and is a longtime Republican National Committeeman representing Virginia, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president.
The announcement came in the form of a letter from Blackwell, addressed to fellow conservatives, in an email sent out Friday by the Cuccinelli Compass, a regular grassroots update provided by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and paid for by the Liberty Now PAC.
“In the past several weeks, the presidential contest has clarified. I have decided to endorse Ted Cruz and to urge other serious conservatives to join me in supporting Cruz,” Blackwell wrote.
He then listed the qualities necessary in a successful Republican presidential nominee in 2016:
In the piece I wrote last November, which you can see here, I discussed several factors important to consider in making a choice. Here they are:
Has the candidate a record of personal activism and leadership for conservative principles?
Is the candidate surrounded by people notable for their firm commitment to conservative principles?
Are the candidate’s currently stated policy positions solidly conservative?
Has the candidate ever continued to fight hard for conservative principles when it appeared to be a losing battle?
Does the candidate frequently reverse his or her positions on important issues?
Has the candidate built a record of helping conservative organizations and working to elect conservative candidates?
If elected, would the candidate melt when the heat is on?
Can the liberal media destroy any truly conservative presidential candidate?
“Applying those questions and similar considerations to the current candidates and their campaigns,” Blackwell continued, “you and I should unite in support of a candidate who could win election and whom we believe would be the most determined and effective conservative president. I believe that person is Sen. Ted Cruz.”
Cruz, Blackwell wrote “has consistently demonstrated his deep commitment to conservative principles. He works hard for those principles. He is very smart. He’s a world-class speaker. He has shown that he can raise the large amounts of money necessary to win the nomination and the November election.”
Blackwell pointed to Cruz’s organizational capabilities, noting that he has put together “what is probably the best national ground-game campaign.”
“Supporters of some other candidates,” Blackwell added, “have focused largely on paid advertising that has a limited effect on identifying supporters and getting them to participate personally
in caucuses and primaries.”
Cruz, a graduate of Harvard Law School who has succesfully argued a number of cases before the United States Supreme Court, will do an excellent job in judicial appointments, Blackwell maintains.
“Republican Presidents frequently have problems selecting federal judges and Supreme Court Justices who turn out to be reliably conservative on the bench. From personal experience, Ted knows much better than others the vital importance of this matter. You and I can be confident that Ted Cruz will make superb judicial nominations,” Blackwell wrote.
Blackwell also took a shot at likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, without specifically naming her.
“The Democrats will almost certainly nominate a badly flawed candidate — a notorious, serial liar who is widely disliked and distrusted,” Blackwell said.
“Let’s take this opportunity,” Blackwell concluded, “to nominate and elect a Republican president who has the courage and skill to advance our conservative principles… Please join me in supporting Ted Cruz.”