The Republican presidential primary may turn into a two-gun Texas shootout with both first-term Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry making noises about taking a run at the White House.
While former White House contender Perry has been temporarily distracted by his fight against two indictments, Tea Party supporter Cruz is going full steam ahead, packing his staff with high-powered, seasoned political pros, Politico reports.
Politico says that foreign policy wonk Joel Mowbray has been brought on board, along with Jason Miller, a former advisor to Sem. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Cal., and House Republican Conference aide Nick Muzin.
Cruz has been noncommittal so far on his political ambitions, but has hit Washington in a brash, attention-grabbing way in his first term, leading the October anti-Obamacare revolt that shut down the government for 16 days, and is now tackling immigration concerns.
"I think Republicans should nominate whoever is standing up and leading and fighting the fight," he told The Atlantic.
However by enlarging his staff by adding former Perry advisors like Axiom Strategies founder Jeff Roe and Lauren Lofstron for fundraising, Cruz is leaving little doubt that his political ambitions exceed the Senate, the Washington Examiner
Cruz political advisor Jason Johnson told the Examiner, "Harnessing the energy of the millions of Americans who want to bring accountability to Washington requires additional manpower so we are excited to have new talented hands on deck as we build a grassroots army outside the Beltway to change what's happening within."
Cruz faces tough opposition — RealClearPolitics
puts him in the middle of the pack for the nomination, running behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a host of polls, and just ahead of his home state threat Perry, by 8.8 to 8.3 percent.
Raz Shafer, a former Cruz operative, has formed a super PAC to draft Cruz and has raised around $200,000 so far, and garnered over 17,000 signatures, The Atlantic reports.
A Republican operative close to Cruz told the Times, "We have to build out his political operation to put him in a better position to lead," one Republican said. "There's a desire for leadership, he's out there doing his part and we have to build an organization to support it."
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