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Ted Cruz Has Ups, Downs in Opening Week on Campaign Trail

Image: Ted Cruz Has Ups, Downs in Opening Week on Campaign Trail
(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 01:50 PM

In the week that has passed since Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination, the reaction to the Texas senator's candidacy reflects some of the challenges and advantages his campaign will face in the coming months.

It was not a surprise that his speech last Monday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was widely embraced by conservative talk radio hosts and equally vilified by many in the mainstream media.

"It’s morning in America again, especially if you’re in Lynchburg. The GOP is about to be radically surprised. I think the groundswell for someone like Ted Cruz is going to be enormous. I don’t need to give any time to Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, any of the progressives," said radio host Glenn Beck after Cruz's speech, according to Politico.

While some held back in fawning over Cruz, Politico notes that "nearly all the kings and queens of the conservative airwaves express admiration for a man almost universally despised by his Senate colleagues and dismissed by the mainstream media."

Rush Limbaugh said Cruz had stunned the mainstream media and his other opponents.

"They were dazzled. They were impressed. They were so dazzled they were worried the guy is superhuman," Limbaugh said last Monday.

Some of that shine was dimmed a day later when Cruz, who rose to prominence as a consequence of his staunch opposition to Obamacare, said he was considering signing onto the controversial healthcare insurance plan.

"We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for healthcare, and we're in the process of transitioning over to do that," Cruz told The Des Moines Register.

Currently, Cruz receives coverage from Goldman Sachs, his wife Heidi's employer, but she is planning on taking an unpaid leave of absence from her job to campaign for him, which leaves the family without health coverage.

The campaign rollout also experienced a few other small hiccups related to organizers of some of the post-speech events.

One event in Merrimack, New Hampshire, later in the week was organized by Jack Kimball, former head of the New Hampshire Republican Party who had to resign in 2011 after the GOP’s executive committee tried to remove him from his position, according to a Washington Post report.

The Post also noted criticism from the Council on Islamic Relations because Stop Islamization of America co-founder Robert Spencer was set to make an appearance at an event at which Cruz was speaking.

But if his fundraising numbers are indicative, Cruz's nomination rollout was a success.

In his first week as an official candidate, his campaign met its $1 million fundraising goal by Tuesday and had nearly doubled that figure by the end of the week, aides confirmed to Politico.

A contributing factor in Cruz's ability to quickly meet and exceed his goals was his decision to forgo the traditional post-announcement stump speeches to attend a closed-door New York fundraiser.

Cruz may have been able to financially capitalize on his announcement, but catching up to and keeping pace with some of the bigger fundraisers among the GOP pool remains a major challenge.

"From the standpoint of the fundraising circuit, I think it is going to be difficult for him to convince major donors that he is substantive enough to be able to avail himself of their largesse," Joe Brettell, a Texas-based GOP operative, tells Politico.

In a new CBS News poll, which was conducted before and after his March 23 announcement, Cruz has made the biggest gain among GOP potential nominees.

The survey finds 37 percent of Republicans would now consider voting for him, which is a 14-point gain over last month's poll and moves him into fifth place behind the leader, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is in second place, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has moved up 9 points over last month into third place, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is fourth.

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In the week since Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination, the reaction to the Texas senator's candidacy reflects some of the challenges and advantages his campaign will face in the coming months.
ted cruz, campaign, fundraising, republicans
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2015-50-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 01:50 PM
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