Ted Cruz Reportedly Winning Over Some Rand Paul Supporters in Iowa

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Des Moines, IA

According to a New York Times report, Sen. Ted Cruz is making some critical inroads in Iowa, including gaining the support of “more than a dozen party leaders for his statewide campaign.” Some of that support is coming from the state’s libertarians, or Liberty movement, generally assumed to be aligned with Rand Paul.

One, Iowa state Senator Jason Shultz, endorsed Rand’s father, Ron Paul, in 2012–and two others, Joel Kurtinitis and Chad Steenhoek, are former members of the Iowa GOP’s central committee. NYT reports:

“The assumption of lot of people has been that the Liberty movement would roll over and support Senator Paul,’’ Mr. Kurtinitis said. “We’re a movement probably more than anything that’s noted for critical thinking and a rebellious streak.’’

He said Mr. Cruz, who announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, appealed to three important constituencies in Iowa: evangelical Christians, Libertarians and Tea Party activists. His wife, Kelsey Kurtinitis, a board member of Personhood Iowa, an antiabortion group, is also joining the Cruz campaign, as one of 15 or so volunteer leaders who will most likely take the title of state co-chairman and co-chairwomen, Mr. Kurtinitis said.

A win in Iowa is seen as crucial for any Republican needing something of a breakthrough to become competitive in the primary over the longer haul. For now, Cruz hasn’t been as active, or even in Iowa, as much as some other candidates, although, reportedly, he is currently ramping up his efforts there.

Kurtinitis told NYT, “Informal polling we’ve done in Liberty, Iowa, shows Cruz bringing in 25 to 30 percent of Paul’s people.’’ Obviously, that’s a significant number if it holds up.