Ted Cruz surges ahead of Rick Perry in Texas poll

Double ouch!  Governor Perry is in 5th place in Texas!  Texas Senator Ted Cruz is barely ahead of Scott Walker in his home state of Texas after a week when Walker appeared to handle reporters’ questions pretty poorly (e.g. – not sure about evolution). 

Click here to read the full February 23, 2015 story from Politico.com quoted in part below:

Sen. Ted Cruz leads a crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination in Texas, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released on Monday.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker grabbed 2 percent of the vote in the last such poll in October, but he has surged to a close second. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom 14 percent of Republican voters would have chosen in October, fell to fifth place in a wide-open field.

Twenty percent of those surveyed went for Cruz with Walker pulling in 19 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and neurosurgeon Ben Carson followed, each with 9 percent, and Perry at 8 percent.

Ted Cruz Comes to Florida to Attack Jeb Bush on Common Core

Ted Cruz is clearly going to take advantage of moderate, main stream positions held by Jeb Bush, such as his support of Common Core educational curriculum, which would be fine in a General Election but which is for some reason anathema to ardent, right wing conservatives.

Click here to read the full February 22, 2015 column from the Sunshine States News, quoted in part below:

Ted Cruz came to Jacksonville Friday night and called out Jeb Bush on Common Core.

More so than most of the other Republicans testing the waters for 2016, Cruz has taken shots at Bush over Common Core. But this time Cruz fired away at Bush in his own backyard.

Ted and Jeb

Cruz said he and Bush had “significant policy disagreements” on Common Core and would not weigh in if the former Florida governor was a conservative, saying that was something voters had to decide for themselves. Of course, Cruz also touched on other topics — repeal Obamacare, get rid of the IRS — but Common Core is increasingly in his sights.

Bush has more than his share of vulnerabilities in the primary, including immigration and his last name, but Common Core is the main chink in his armor. It’s an issue that will hurt Bush badly with conservatives and Republican primary voters.

 

Buzz Aldrin to be star witness at Ted Cruz space hearings

Senator Cruz is going to be all over the news next week.

Click here to read the full February 20, 2015 story from Examiner.com quoted in part below:

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, will hold his first hearings on “U.S. Human Exploration Goals and Commercial Space Competitiveness” next week, according to a Thursday story In Space Policy Online. Among the eclectic group of former astronauts, business leaders, and academics that will constitute the witness list will be Apollo moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. The hearings will also serve as an opportunity for Cruz to flesh out his views on the future of the American space program.

Cruz and NASACruz has previously stated his desire to return NASA to its core function of space exploration. He has also expressed support for both commercial space enterprises and the Orion/SLS space system under development at the space agency that will serve as the main components for exploration beyond low Earth orbit for the first few decades of the 21st Century.

Aldrin being included in the witness list is interesting on a number of levels. Besides providing the hearings considerable star power, Aldrin was once a supporter of President Obama’s space policy. The president used him as a photo op during his now infamous April 15, 2010 speech at the Kennedy Space Center. Obama even gave him a shout out when he stated his reasons for not returning to the moon. “Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before. Buzz has been there.” Aldrin, albeit a strong supporter of sending humans to Mars, has had difficulty living that down among lunar exploration advocates.

Ted Cruz has high-profile, possibly very good upcoming week

Senator Cruz has several big opportunities to get national attention during the coming week.  I predict he will make good on all his chances to get his name and positions out to that small slice of the population likely to vote in a Republican presidential caucus or primary.

Click here to read the full February 20, 2015 story from McClatchy News quoted in part below:

— Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is likely to draw the national spotlight next week with a legislative trifecta: a funding fight over the Department of Homeland Security, a vote for a new attorney general and a review on the future of NASA.

At the same time, Cruz will be hoping to make a splash among the Republican hard core for his possible 2016 presidential run by speaking and mingling Thursday at CPAC, the meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Cruz in prayer

Cruz, a neophyte politician elected in 2012, became a household name with his 21-hour floor speech leading up to 2013’s partial government shutdown. He seems poised to reprise his role as a shutdown cheerleader, supporting Republicans in the House of Representatives who have tied homeland security funding to rollbacks of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Ted Cruz tosses red-meat to Duval [Florida] Republicans

Cruz energizes the true believers in Jeb Bush territory.

Click here to read the full February 20, 2015 article from The Naple News quoted in part below:

As he continues to the test the waters for a potential 2016 bid for the White House, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas made his pitch Friday night to the Republican Party of Duval County, one of the state’s largest local parties.

Sprinkled throughout his remarks was a common theme that most potential GOP presidential nominees have focused on: Obamacare.

“In 2017, a Republican president in the White House will sign legislation repealing Obamacare,” he said.

Cruz has built a national reputation as a firebrand conservative not afraid to mix it up with the establishment in his own party. In 2013, he grabbed headlines by speaking for 21-hours on the Senate floor about the need to defund Obamacare, an act that endeared him to many of the party’s conservative activists.

The red-meat issues that dropped Cruz on the national radar were on full display as he gave a keynote speech to a packed ballroom at the Jacksonville Hyatt Regency.

“We should abolish the IRS,” Cruz said to a loud ovation.

Duval County is home base for many large GOP donors and a big swath of Republican voters, but it could be tough for any non-Florida candidate to wrest that support away from Jeb Bush or U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, both of whom are also considering presidential bids.

Ted Cruz is the most underrated candidate in the 2016 field

These very connected and experienced political columnists predict Ted Cruz will be a real contender in 2016.

Click here to read the full February 13, 2015 Washington Post column that is quoted in part below.

A prominent Republican consultant — who isn’t working for any of the 2016 presidential candidates and who has been right more times than I can count — said something that shocked me when we had lunch recently. He said that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had roughly the same odds of becoming the Republican presidential nominee as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

ted at freedom summit

Jaw-dropper, right? After all, the conventional wisdom is that Bush, the son and brother of presidents, is the frontrunner to be the Republican standard-bearer, while Cruz, a conservative’s conservative, is a factor, sure, but not someone who could actually win the nomination.

How, I asked this guy, could he say such a thing? He explained it this way.

Think of the Republican primary field as a series of lanes. In this race, there are four of them: Establishment, Tea Party, Social Conservative and Libertarian. The four lanes are not of equal size:  Establishment is the biggest followed by Tea Party, Social Conservative and then Libertarian. (I could be convinced that Libertarian is slightly larger than Social Conservative, but it’s close.)

Obviously the fight for the top spot in the Establishment lane is very crowded, with Bush and possibly Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading at the moment. Ditto the Social Conservative lane with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Rick Santorum all pushing hard there. The Libertarian lane is all Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s but, as I noted above, it’s still not that big.

Which leaves the Tea Party lane, which is both relatively large and entirely Cruz’s. While Paul looked as though he might try to fight Cruz for supremacy in that lane at one time, it’s clear from his recent moves that the Kentucky senator is trying to become a player in a bunch of lanes, including Social Conservative and Establishment.

So, Cruz is, without question, the dominant figure in the Tea Party lane. What that means — particularly in the early stages of the primary process in places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — is that he will likely be able to win, place or show repeatedly, wracking up enough strong-ish performances to keep going even as the Establishment lane and the Social Conservative lane begin to thin out. (Cruz’s ability to raise money, which remains a question, is less important for him than it is for other candidates — especially those in the Establishment lane. His people are going to be for him no matter how much — or little — communicating he does with them.)

Will Ted Cruz rock the House at CPAC? Will CPAC Thin Or Expand The Republican Presidential Herd?

A Republican blogger predicts Cruz will do well next week at the CPAC cattle call of would-be GOP nominees next week.

Click here to read the story quoted in part below that was published February 19, 2015 at The Daily Caller.com.

Whether the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) annual conference is relevant to the Republican Party and potential presidential candidates is debated each year.

For 2015 at least, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” CPAC’s conference next week could go a long way towards sorting out the trajectories of a growing field of likely Republican presidential candidates.

The list of serious potential presidential candidates speaking at CPAC has grown to include a wide cross-section, including Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Dr. Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum.

….

Here’s my assessment of where the candidates stand, and how CPAC appearances could help or hurt them:

Jeb Bush has big money and a big name, but is lacking in big enthusiasm among the non-donor activist class. The doubts about Jeb are manifold – soft or wobbly on immigration and Common Core, and perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a big government Republican in the mold of his brother, George W. Having been out of politics for the last decade, Jeb needs to introduce himself to a Republican electorate not necessarily enamored of the Bush name. CPAC could be Jeb’s conservative coming out.

Mike HuckabeeRick Santorum and Rick Perry have big name recognition, but have run before in campaigns that ended in failures that left them politically damaged goods. All will get good crowd receptions, but will it be their swan songs, or a new political beginning? I’m betting on the swans.

Ted Cruz will rock the house. No doubt about that. His appearance will be an 8.0 earthquake. But the rock star of the conservative movement needs to translate that enthusiasm into a perception of a credible national candidacy.