While Sen. Ted Cruz may be a star among tea party faithful and other more socially conservative Republicans, he has been less active on the midterm campaign trail as some candidates fear he could polarize voters, The Hill reports
More welcomed in states with tight midterms contests have been Cruz's conservative brothers in the Senate, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who have been counted on to support election bids across the country, the Hill noted.
“It’s almost exactly a year ago to the day when [Cruz] led to the government shutdown," Republican strategist Rich Galen told The Hill. "That appealed to a narrow and narrowing wing of the Republican Party. For a lot of people that was over the top and they’re not comfortable with him.”
How such a political temperature read during the midterms plays out in 2016 remains unknown. Cruz continues to be mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for president — and is already traveling to states seen as key in a presidential race — along with Paul and Rubio and an increasingly crowded field with no emerging frontrunner.
Among Cruz's recent political visits are time spent in Iowa and New Hampshire, and also in South Carolina, The Hill noted. The latter would be helpful if indeed Cruz sets his sights on the White House, strategists said. He has also visited Kansas to help veteran Sen. Pat Roberts who is in a battle there for his political life.
“There’s a higher level of importance placed on foreign policy and national security in South Carolina,” said GOP strategist Luke Byars, who worked on the presidential campaign of Bob Dole. “If you’re going to be successful in South Carolina in a presidential campaign you just come in here with one leg of the conservative stool. You have to be able to articulate a vision for national security, strength of domestic policy and the economy and for social conservative values."
Conservatives seem to approve of Cruz's resolute traditional values and vision. The one-term senator has twice won the Family Research Council Action's Values Voter Summit Straw Poll, Fox News noted
. Paul tied for fifth place and Rubio was at No. 6 in the poll's most recent vote last month.
Still, other more centrist voters wonder if Cruz can appeal to moderate voters and a broader tent seen necessary to push a Republican back to the White House. Cruz was described by The Week magazine as "the new Sarah Palin,"
meaning his rhetoric is powerful, but his power is questionable.
Noted The Week's Michael Brendan Dougherty of Cruz: "He is gifted at polarizing a debate in a way that gratifies the base of the party. But then what? Ted Cruz will 'stand for' conservative policy goals, but standing for them is very different from realizing them."
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