Texas Grassroots Cheer News of Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign

Ted Cruz
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Grassroots conservatives across Texas are cheering the news that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will announce that he is running for President in 2016 on Monday. The news was especially welcomed by many activists who have supported Cruz for years, long before he became a household name.

A media advisory from the Jobs Growth & Freedom Fund, Cruz’s leadership PAC, said that the announcement will be made at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time/9:00 a.m. Central Time at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where Cruz is scheduled to deliver the convocation address. The speech will be shown on C-SPAN 2 and livestreamed online.

Cruz will go ahead and launch a presidential campaign directly, rather than form an exploratory committee or continue to promote his activities solely through his leadership PAC, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle. Senior advisers close to Cruz told the Chronicle that the Senator has reached the point where he does not need to do any more “exploring,” and is ready to officially become the first Republican presidential candidate of the 2016 election cycle.

The Texas Senator first rose to fame after winning a hard fought Republican primary in Texas’ 2012 Senate race in a crowded primary field. Former Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was the heavily favored front-runner at the beginning of the race, both in terms of money and name recognition. In comparison, Cruz’s role as Texas’ Solicitor General had won him accolades for his legal advocacy skills — especially his oral argument skills before the United States Supreme Court — but had hardly made him a household name.

Cruz won the hearts of grassroots activists, and endorsements from influential conservative groups like Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. He managed to establish himself as the more authentically conservative candidate in the race, and quickly drew comparisons to the rise of Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), another attorney of Cuban descent who won his own underdog race against Governor Charlie Crist (R-Florida).

Dewhurst came in first in the 2012 primary, but was unable to surpass the fifty-percent threshold, forcing him into a runoff with second-place finisher Cruz. Cruz won the runoff by a large margin, and waltzed to victory in the general election.

Since joining the Senate, Cruz has made headlines for criticizing his fellow Republicans as much as he has opposed the Democrats. A Cruz-led filibuster against funding for Obamacare in September 2013 and his role in the government shutdown the following month frustrated Senate Republican leadership, but won him enthusiastic praise from conservatives who viewed moderate Republicans in Congress as too willing to compromise with President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

With that history in mind, Cruz as a Presidential candidate is expected to draw support from both tea party activists and the social conservative wing of the Republican party. His selection of Liberty University, a Christian University founded by evangelical Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell, as the location for his announcement sends a signal that social conservative issues will continue to be a priority for Cruz.

One of Cruz’s supporters is Texas State Senator Konni Burton (R-Colleyville), a staunch pro-life advocate who was a key grassroots leader during Cruz’s Senate campaign. Burton was one of the few candidates to receive Cruz’s endorsement during the 2014 elections. Burton posted on her Facebook page Sunday that she had been contacted about Cruz’s announcement on Monday. “The news reports are correct. Ted Cruz is running. I’m all in. ‪#‎cruz2016,” wrote Burton.

Breitbart Texas reached out to Burton for comment. Burton confirmed that she had been contacted by Cruz’s people earlier Sunday to let her know that he was definitely running for President and would make the announcement on Monday. Burton told them that she was “all in” and would do “whatever is needed to assure a primary victory for Senator Cruz.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that Ted Cruz is the leader our country so desperately needs,” said Burton. “He is a strong constitutional conservative who will put the people first. He will not dither nor lead from behind when it comes to those who seek to harm us and the freedoms by which we live.”

“It’s way past time that we have a President who will defend and protect our great nation. Ted Cruz is that man,” Burton concluded.

Raz Shafer, the executive director for the Draft Ted Cruz PAC, has also been supporting Cruz for years. Shafer was the political director for the Madison Project PAC, the first PAC endorsement Cruz received, and later joined his Senate office as his Fort Worth regional director.

“Cruz has demonstrated principled leadership at every opportunity and has used bold colors to paint his vision of a restored America,” Shafer told Breitbart Texas. “He’s entering this race because an overwhelming number of Americans want to see the same dedication, loyalty, and tenacity he’s exhibited in the Senate down the street in the White House.”

Katrina Pierson, who was also a volunteer organizer for Cruz, told Breitbart Texas that he had been an early proponent of school choice, and that was one of the issues that drew grassroots activists to him from the beginning.

“I supported Ted Cruz when he was planning to run for Texas Attorney General, before there was a ever a Cruz Crew,” said Pierson, who noted that Cruz’s strong conservative principles and grassroots activism was something she did not see in most politicians. “So, when he ran for Senate instead, we knew that there was only one option – win.”

“Senator Cruz has always said that the darkest hour is just before dawn,” continued Pierson. “I knew then, on day one, that the day would come when America would need a leader to guide the nation back from dark and that this was the man who was going to restore Liberty in America.”

Toby Marie Walker, tea party leader in Waco, also believes that Cruz was what America needs at this point. “He will make DC work for Main Street, not Main Street working for DC,” Walker told Breitbart Texas. “America needs a person who is honest, principled, and puts our interests first. Ted Cruz will tell Americans the truth, he will stand by his principles, and will always put our interests at the forefront of any decisions.”

JoAnn Fleming, the executive director of Grassroots America, shared her fellow activists’ enthusiasm for the idea of a Cruz Presidential campaign. “Ted Cruz has studied the U.S. Constitution his entire life, and understands how to apply it to the great issues facing our country,” said Fleming.

“Ted Cruz can lead this nation back to the bedrock principles that made this country great,” Fleming continued. “He will set brushfires of freedom in the hearts and minds of the American people. He will earn the respect of our allies and fear of our enemies. Ted Cruz will lead a national movement to repair our tattered reputation and mend the fabric of our liberty.”

This article has been updated with additional quotes.

[Disclosure: JoAnn Fleming is a Breitbart Texas contributor.]

Breitbart Texas will continue to follow this story and report on Cruz’s announcement on Monday.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.


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