DUBLIN, NH – It’s official: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has now headlined Republican Party events in each of the early presidential nominating states and it’s barely Labor Day weekend of 2013.
Friday evening’s appearance at the New Hampshire GOP reception meant Cruz completed the trifecta of the all-important states after he was the keynote speaker at the Republican Party of Iowa’s summer picnic in July and the South Carolina GOP’s Silver Elephant Dinner back in May.
“I am glad to be with friends here in New Hampshire,” Cruz told reporters about an hour outside of Manchester, brushing off any presidential speculation prior to the fundraiser. “I have been traveling all over the country working to energize the grassroots and to mobilize the American people to rise up and stop Obamacare and to defund Obamacare.”
Cruz was elected less than a year ago after garnering heavy Tea Party support. The freshman senator is now leading the charge to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. Friday Cruz refused to endorse Texas’ senior senator, Republican John Cornyn, for re-election whom happens to not be supporting Cruz’s efforts to defund the bill.
“I think Senator Cornyn is a good man. He is a friend, he and I have worked side-by-side on a great many issues fighting for Texas, fighting for conservative principles. I think it is likely that I am going to stay out of incumbent primaries across the country,” Cruz said about the senate deputy minority leader.
He later added: “My focus in 2014 is open seats or seats that are currently held by Democrats. I think 2014 presents very favorable terrain for Republicans. I believe 2014 is teed up for Republicans to take control of the Senate and retire Harry Reid as the majority leader.”
During Cruz’s speech outside the breathtaking Knollwood Farm, he told the nearly 200-person crowd as they sipped homemade ice tea and local wines, that he stands by his principles.
“You know, there are a lot of people in the media that say ‘anyone who was elected with support of the Tea Party, those guys are radical, they are extreme. I have to admit, I have to chuckle a bit,” Cruz said. “It is only in Washington DC that it is considered radical to want to live within your means. It is only in the United States Capitol that it is considered extreme not to want to bankrupt our kids and grandkids.”
New Hampshire’s junior senator, Republican Kelly Ayotte, introduced her Texas colleague and praised him as “very smart” and having “passion” and “principle.”
The crowd seemed to agree. Several people, whom waited in line to meet Cruz following the fundraiser, told him that they hoped he would run for president.
“I think he is right on message with getting out the grassroots. I think he is very Republican and I think we need to see the next generation step up to the plate and go grab the ball and run with it,” attendee Carolyn Brown told NBC News after Cruz spoke to the crowd, adding: “It is early yet but I don’t see any reason I wouldn’t support him for president.”
Ray Ross agreed: “I hope he is going to run in ’16…I think he will be a fabulous candidates.”
The next presidential election is still nearly three years away but that hasn’t stopped several politicians – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and of course, Cruz -- from visiting those all important early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
“You know, it took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan,” Cruz said as he wrapped up his speech in the Live Free or Die State. “And I am convinced that the most longest lasting legacy of President Obama is going to be all of us standing up together, arm-in-arm, to restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.”