The Ted Cruz presidential campaign of 2016 began when United States Senator Ted Cruz of Texas elected to seek the Republican Party nomination for President. Early on, before officially announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Cruz offended mainstream Republicans and delighted conservative extremists with his uncompromising political views.
Since the beginning of his campaign, Cruz fought an uphill battle to sell his extreme views. Cruz consistently refused to moderate his views, which alienated a significant portion of the more moderate wing of the Republican party from his campaign. The Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton, used this fissure in the party to portray Cruz as an extremist. In the general election, Cruz lost in a landslide to Clinton, carrying only six states with 35% of the popular vote.
Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz is the junior Senator from Texas. A Republican, elected in 2012, he is the first Hispanic person to serve as a U.S. Senator from Texas. Between 1999 and 2003, Cruz served as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, an associate deputy attorney general at theUnited States Department of Justice, and as domestic policy advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush during the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. Cruz served as Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to May 2008. Cruz was also an adjunct professor< of law at the University of Texas School of Law, from 2004 to 2009 where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation.
As a presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz proved to be a fundraising powerhouse with SuperPacs supporting him saying they raised $31 million in the day following his announcement. SuperPacs operate independently from campaigns, but the four which collected the contributions are run by Nathan Vogel, a Ft. Worth attorney who is a friend of Cruz’s. The SuperPacs supporting Cruz used the slogan “Keep the Promise.”
Cruz’s campaign itself collected $4 million, primarily from small donors, since the Texas senator launched his campaign on March 23, 2015 in at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Hedge fund CEO Robert Cermet went all in for the conservative Texas Republican, but the billionaire also has some baggage—like, the avoiding billions in taxes kind of baggage. His alleged failure to pay those taxes led to substantial congressional scrutiny in 2014, which continued to embarrass Cruz in 2015.
While he enjoyed enthusiastic support from the conservative movement, Cruz was opposed by liberals and moderates in the party, particularly Jeb Bush, his most significant rival for the Republican nomination.
Cruz’s far right-leaning Republican opponents, Rubio, Walker, and Christie faltered early due to gaffes, obvious incompetence or inability to match Cruz’s fundraising. After winning primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, Cruz was the front-runner followed closely by Jeb Bush. Bush’s supporters attacked Cruz as unelectable. Cruz’s supporters responded by attacking Bush as a liberal, a RINO, and a fellow-traveler with Democrats.
Securing the nomination
Cruz won the California primary with 51% of the vote, gaining the state’s delegates, and all but securing the nomination. Immediately thereafter, he began a search for a running mate, narrowing the field to four: former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former NY Gov. George Pataki, and NJ Gov. Christie. After the two governors declined the honor, Cruz selected Carly Fiorina as his running mate.
Cruz was hurt by the perception that the Republican Platform and Cruz’s political views would unfairly hurt the middle class and favored the rich. He was attacked for his filibuster against keeping the government functioning which was seen as irresponsible. He was mocked for his misunderstanding of the Dr. Seuss story “Green Eggs and Ham.” Carly Fiorina hurt the campaign with off-message statements which showed little understanding of national political issues and with bitter attacks on Hillary Clinton which offended many undecided voters.
Throughout October, the media emphasized the lead Clinton had over Cruz, stating that Cruz had little chance of winning the election. This negative coverage of the campaign caused many independent voters, believing the result of the election had been already determined, not to vote.
On Election Day, Cruz lost the election to Clinton by the largest margin in history. Cruz accumulated 88 Electorial votes to Clinton’s 446 and 35% of the popular vote. Cruz carried six states: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and his home state of Texas. Cruz’s relatively strong showing in the south was largely due to his support for small government and States’ rights.
© William Hungerford – April 2015