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Cruz: I Will Be 'That Conservative Candidate' to Take on Establishment

Cruz: I Will Be 'That Conservative Candidate' to Take on Establishment
(Photo by Nicholas Pilch/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 22 December 2015 01:09 PM

Sen. Ted Cruz says he's got the conservative "lane" in the GOP presidential primary contest locked up.

In an interview with the National Journal, the Texas lawmaker predicts after the results are in from the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, the race will boil down to an establishment favorite up against a conservative challenger.

"I believe I will be that conservative candidate," he tells the outlet. "I don't know who the moderate candidate will be."

But he's got a good idea.

"The establishment is enthusiastically unifying behind [Sen.] Marco Rubio," he tells the National Journal, adding the Florida lawmaker will have to seal the deal in New Hampshire.

"Marco is perceived by many to be the most formidable candidate in the moderate lane," he says. "But he has serious competition in the moderate lane. Look, the winner of the moderate lane has to win New Hampshire. And right now there are a number of moderates who are competing vigorously for New Hampshire, and at this point it is not clear to me who will win."

And Cruz isn't worried about a contest with Rubio — or anyone else who's got the backing of the the establishment.

"Historically, conservatives have outnumbered moderates in the Republican party two to one," Cruz says. "That has changed. Barack Obama has radicalized the American people. Today in the Republican party conservatives outnumber moderates three to one."

He also tells the National Journal 77 percent of GOP primary voters identify as conservative — and 52 percent as very conservative.

"If we go head to head, one strong conservative versus one strong moderate, it's game over, especially given that in past elections the moderate has always had all the money and the conservative has been broke," he says.

"In this situation, the fact that has the Washington establishment perhaps most terrified is this: Of the 17 Republican candidates who started, the campaign with the most money in the bank is our campaign."

And he says he's not worried even "remotely" his Senate colleague could steal conservative votes from him.

"Marco and I have made markedly different decisions" since arriving in Washington, Cruz says, ticking off issues including amnesty, "which is the clearest distinction."

"Hispanic voters in America don't support illegal immigration, despite what many in the media say," he says.

"It is many Hispanic voters in America who are losing their jobs, who are seeing their wages driven down.... And to be clear, when I ran for Senate in Texas, I was unequivocally opposed to amnesty then, and I’m unequivocally opposed to amnesty now," he says.

Cruz warns that a GOP nominate of Rubio as the party's standard-bearer will only repeat Mitt Romney's defeat in 2012, when the former Massachusetts governor's record on health care made him unable to draw contrasts with President Barack Obama's signature health care program.

"That same Republican Party establishment who thought it was a great idea to nominate a candidate who had designed and implemented a program just like Obamacare now thinks it’s a terrific idea to nominate a candidate who agrees with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on amnesty," Cruz tells the National Journal.

"If we do that — if the Republican nominee shares the very same views on amnesty for 12 million people that Hillary Clinton does — millions of working men and women will stay home, we will lose, and Hillary Clinton becomes the next president."

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Sen. Ted Cruz says he's got the conservative "lane" in the GOP presidential primary contest locked up.
ted cruz, conservative, establihsment, gop, republican
Tuesday, 22 December 2015 01:09 PM
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