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Why Ted Cruz Missed the Loretta Lynch Vote

Sen Ted Cruz of Texas, who was one of the most vocal critics against Loretta Lynch's nomination for Attorney General, was the only Senator to miss her final confirmation vote Thursday because he needed to catch a flight for a previously scheduled commitment in Texas, his campaign tells NBC News.

"He had to catch a flight for a commitment in Texas," Cruz Campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Kelly O'Donnell.

According to a fundraising invite obtained by Real Clear Politics, Cruz has a fundraiser in Dallas, TX scheduled for 6pm.

Cruz spoke on the Senate floor this morning against Lynch's nomination, and then voted against the procedural vote to move forward with consideration of her nomination, but Cruz missed the actual vote on her nomination.

Both Cruz's campaign spokeswoman, and his communications director for his official office, Amanda Carpenter, are pushing back hard on criticism of Cruz, saying that because he had voted 'no' on the cloture vote, and because that vote already got 66 'yes' votes, Cruz didn't need to vote on the final vote because they knew her nomination would pass.

"If the Senate could get 60 votes for cloture, they could get 51 for final confirmation," Cruz spokeswoman Amanda Carpenter tweeted, "Cloture is the only vote that mattered."

"Sen. Cruz voted against cloture which was the most important vote - once invoked, her confirmation was guaranteed," Campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier reiterated, "As you know Sen. Cruz led the charge to oppose her nomination, in interviews, op-eds and a floor speech today. Those responsible for her confirmation are the ones who voted for cloture."

While 10 Republicans voted 'yes' on Lynch's final confirmation vote, 20 voted 'yes' on cloture.

Asked about missing the vote, Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) told NBC News "I understand that when people are running for President there's a lot of scheduling pressures, and I'm going to leave that up to him."

- Kelly O'Donnell and Frank Thorp