Politico: South Carolina Grassroots ‘Crazy for Cruz’

AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez
AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez

Katie Glueck at Politico writes:

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.— A crowd of tea party activists huddled outside a closed conference door here on Sunday. Many hadn’t caught a glimpse of the man they were waiting for, but they knew he was in there.

“Here he comes!” someone suddenly shouted, as Ted Cruz emerged.

All day long, the Republican senator from Texas was mobbed by people who thanked him for taking on Washington, jostled for pictures and sought out hugs. Even after Cruz had departed the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention, his booth was consistently crowded.

Ben Carson and Rick Santorum made their pitches and both were well received. But Cruz was the crowd favorite by a landslide, and if the reception he got at the weekend gathering is any indication, the tea party vote in this critical early voting state is his to lose.

But while Cruz may have the early momentum with these activists, the broader battle for support among GOP activists will be one of the fiercest of the 2016 cycle. And many Republicans question how much appeal Cruz has beyond the most conservative faction of the GOP.

The senator himself acknowledged that popularity among the tea party alone isn’t enough to cinch the Republican nomination.

“For any Republican to win the nomination, you have to be able to bring together a broad coalition,” he told POLITICO. “You have to be a full-spectrum conservative.”

At the convention, however, attendees viewed Cruz as among the most electable of their potential picks, pointing to him as someone who offered both inspiration and, from his perch as a U.S. senator, credibility.

Several argued that many of the other potential contenders for the tea party vote don’t offer that combination to the same degree. And given Cruz’s platform in Washington, he has a higher profile and better early organization than other potential contenders.

Read the whole article here.