On Monday Senator [score]Ted Cruz[/score] shocked the world when he was able to defeat GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in Iowa’s first in the nation primary. That was just the beginning to what has been a very good week, thus far, for Senator Cruz as he prepares for New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday.
How has the week gone well for Cruz?
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First, two of his biggest competitors for the evangelical conservative vote dropped out of the race. Mike Huckabee exited as he realized that he’d been walloped in Iowa, and Rick Santorum walked away a couple of days later. Both of these men have been harsh critics of Senator Cruz without being able to explain which of Cruz’s stances they disagree with, so having them drop out of the race can only boost his support among conservative evangelicals.
Then, the only GOP candidate in the race with a more libertarian streak than Senator Cruz also pulled his name from presidential consideration. When Senator [score]Rand Paul[/score] decided to call it quits, he left libertarian-leaning Republicans with little choice, and Cruz hopes that Paul voters will recognize that on Civil Liberties issues, he is the next best thing to Paul.
However, it isn’t just Paul voters that Cruz hopes to sway. It’s Paul donors too… and he’s already landed Senator Paul’s biggest “fish.” On Wednesday, Cruz learned that Paul’s most important Super PAC would now be campaigning for the Cruz campaign.
Scott Banister is an American entrepreneur and investor. He is the co-founder of IronPort and a board member of PayPal. In 2015 he donated $3 million to a Super PAC supporting Rand Paul.
— Scott Banister (@nist) February 3, 2016
But the best news of the week for Cruz (after winning Iowa of course), may have come on Thursday when the nation learned that Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign was spiraling out of control.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Carson lost numerous staff members in New Hampshire when his entire campaign writing team quit to join the Cruz campaign!
Jerry Sickles of Keene, the spokesman for the staff, said he and the other four staffers recently came to the conclusion that Cruz is the conservative most able to win the GOP presidential nomination and the presidency. He also noted that Carson has spent very little time campaigning in New Hampshire, which became frustrating to him and the other staffers as they tried to build support in the state.
“We hold Dr. Carson in the highest regard,” Sickles said. “This is a man we revere, but we think it is important that our party nominate a conservative and get behind a single conservative who can win, and we strongly believe that candidate is Ted Cruz.”
Now, just a few weeks later, Dr. Carson is being forced to cut the staff that decided to stick with him! The Washington Post reports that on Thursday, Dr. Carson was forced to fire more than 50 members of his campaign staff (a reduction in staff of about 40%), as his campaign continues to struggle to regain relevancy. Dr. Carson is also cutting salaries and reducing the number of staff who will be traveling with him across the country. In perhaps the most pointed example of his campaign’s struggle, Dr. Carson may soon be flying on commercial flights again.
While this may sadden Carson supporters, the fact is that poll after poll shows that most of Carson’s voters will move to Cruz if Dr. Carson leaves the race.
Finally, the last bit of good news for Cruz this week comes from the latest national PPP poll of the race, which shows that Cruz has closed the gap between he and Donald Trump. Trump still leads nationally with 25%, but Cruz and [score]Marco Rubio[/score] are tied for 2nd and just 4% behind Trump at 21% each. However, when you consider who the favorite 2nd choice of Republican voters is… Cruz has reason for optimism.
One thing Cruz has going for him is that when you combine first and second choices he comes out ahead with 41% to 36% for Rubio, and 32% for Trump. That’s another metric indicating the difficulty Trump may have in growing his support. Additionally Trump trails Cruz 47/41 head to head, which bodes poorly for him if they end up being the finalists.
Cruz still has a lot of work to do, and he’s still not the favorite to win the whole shebang… but it has been a very good week for the conservative candidate from Texas. If he can string a few weeks like this together, the anti-Cruz RINOs in DC will start to get very worried.
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