Ted Cruz Emphasizing Core Over Coalition Building for 2016

Image: Ted Cruz Emphasizing Core Over Coalition Building for 2016

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 08:05 AM

By Elliot Jager

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In his nascent run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has yet to show he can reach beyond the far right of the party to build a broader winning coalition, Politico reported.

Beyond his core tea party faction, Cruz will also have to reach out to business-oriented Republicans, libertarians, fiscal and social conservatives as well as moderates to win the nomination, according to Politico.

Cruz has toured Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida – early caucus and primary states. The Texan's national exposure was enhanced during his September 2013 lengthy floor speech to defund Obamacare. The ensuing government shutdown did not sit well with more moderate Republicans.

"What I'm trying to do in South Carolina and across the country is really energize and mobilize the grassroots. People understand the path we're on isn't working," Cruz said.

Where Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have all sought to appeal to a broad coalition of Republican voters, Cruz has focused on shoring up his base.

He has held off endorsing Republican incumbents in state primaries including South Carolina's Sen. Lindsey Graham and even fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

Party critics say this makes it unlikely he can become a Ronald Reagan-like unifying figure. "Electability – that will be his challenge," Graham told Politico. "He's got to show he can put the patchwork together."

South Carolina Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney said Cruz's message has little attraction beyond his base for "folks who follow the issues much more deeply, are much more educated on the challenges we face," Politico reported.

Cruz insists he has "support from every spectrum of the Republican Party" and that the real divide is between "entrenched politicians in Washington in both parties and the American people," according to Politico.

Only in foreign policy has the Texas maverick aligned himself more with the mainstream GOP line. He has called for tougher sanctions on Iran and a firmer stance on Russia. These positions distinguish him from the more isolationist-leaning Paul.

Graham thinks that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stands the best chance at winning his state's GOP primary. "It's hard to run against a Baptist preacher in South Carolina," he said.

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner has raised $4.5 million during the first quarter of 2014, according to Politico, citing a source in Boehner's political office it didn't identify.

Boehner, who has tangled with Cruz, transferred more than $2 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee to help preserve the Republicans' 17-seat majority in the 2014 congressional elections, according to Politico.

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