Ted Cruz, Rick Perry May Wage Texas-Size Battle for White House

Image: Ted Cruz, Rick Perry May Wage Texas-Size Battle for White House Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., left, and Texas Governor Rick Perry. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 02:48 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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As the popular saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. But a potential presidential campaign between firebrand junior Sen. Ted Cruz and tough-as-nails Gov. Rick Perry may well be the largest thing to come out of the state in decades.

Perry's last shot in 2012 saw him drop as a prime contender for the White House, reports CBS affiliate KTVT in Dallas-Fort Worth, but his refusal to back down following an indictment on abuse-of-power charges has put him back into the national spotlight.

Meanwhile, grass-roots advocates are pushing for tea party favorite Cruz to run for the White House, saying his right-wing fights on Capitol Hill make him presidential material.

Neither Perry nor Cruz have officially announced their intentions, but there is little doubt among Texans and on the national level that both have set their sights on the Oval Office. The prospect of both of them running is already dividing Texans and overpowering the November governor's race between Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott.

Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri said he believes Cruz and Perry will run, although "they probably don't like me saying it."

Texas' presidential primary is March 1, the first among larger states, and only one of the two men may remain when it's over, Munisteri said.

Some Texas donors say they'll likely be splitting their dollars. Perry has a successful record for raising funds in Texas, while Cruz gathers support nationwide.

And while Cruz and Perry don't always agree, Cruz stood behind Perry when the governor was accused of withholding funds from a county prosecutor's office after the official in charge there was convicted of driving under the influence.

But both men have a way to go before they can convince their party's voters they deserve the nomination. Perry is still fighting the shadow of his last failed race, and Cruz needs to go beyond the far-right, tea party base that backs him and also work to appeal to moderates.

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, while endorsing neither Texan yet, said he believes Cruz would come out over Perry.

"Ted has become really the national conservative leader," he said.

Both Texans, and another potential rival, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, are set to address the national gathering of Americans for Prosperity this weekend in Texas. Cruz has shined at such events, even to the point of being called "our next president."

The last race pitting two Texans for the presidency was in 1982, when George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot squared off. Perot questioned Bush's Texas credentials as he initially hailed from New England.

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