Ted Cruz came home Wednesday and found old friends eager to embrace him. And wondering why his presidential campaign is lagging.
“It is good to be home,” the Texas senator told 1,000 Republican activists gathered for the Harris County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner.
Cruz invoked the spirit of the Alamo in urging them not to give up on his presidential effort. “It’ll be the people of Texas who will stand together,” he said, “and say, ‘enough is enough.’’’
Most in the audience were eager to forget his disappointing third-place finish in Tuesday’s Nevada caucus, and similar showing in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. The senator from Texas got his political start here, and was endorsed Wednesday by Gov. Greg Abbott.
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Cruz leads Trump in Texas by 6, according to poll averages compiled by RealClearPolitics
Abbott introduced Cruz at the dinner. “I know the man’s heart,” Abbott said. “I know Ted’s commitment”
Most at the dinner wore Cruz stickers and held up “TrustTed” signs.
“He does everything he says he’ll do,” said Joe Ellis, a Houston security manager. Front-runner Donald Trump, he said, “has a big mouth.”
But Ellis, like so many in the audience of about 1,000, understood Trump vocalizes the anger many people feel.
Cruz tried to address the Trump threat. Elect me, Cruz said, and there’s no question you’ll get a principled conservative.
Without naming Trump, he said, “There comes a time when the clowns, the acrobats, the dancing bears...it is time to put them away.”
Cruz is counting hard on winning his home state, and polls show him ahead. He explained that the first primary and caucus states performed their traditional role of winnowing the field.
“Now Texas is in a position to make a choice,” he said.