Conservative Republicans in Iowa aren't the only ones happy to see Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, visiting the Hawkeye State beginning today.
So are Democrats -- who are eager to make him the face of Iowa Republicans in next year's midterm races.
The five official party organizations charged with electing Democrats at all levels of government are set to release their first joint memo on Friday, pegged to Cruz's travel to the Hawkeye State and planned speech to the state GOP's annual Reagan Dinner fundraiser.
"Up and down the ticket, the reckless and irresponsible political tactics of Ted Cruz are being admired and adopted by Iowa Republicans," the Democrats write in the memo. "Make no mistake: Ted Cruz is leading the Republican Party. Candidates want to be him. Incumbents are afraid of him. The Republican Party base is energized by him."
The document highlights the upcoming Iowa Senate race, where Democrat Bruce Braley will face off with a yet-to-be-chosen Republican. There are already five GOP candidates vying for the nomination, and Cruz was widely praised at a debate this week among the candidates.
The push suggests that Democrats feel the government shutdown has badly damaged the GOP brand, a reality that could help them in 2014. Polls show Americans blamed congressional Republicans for the government shutdown more than they blamed the president.
And a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that Cruz is a polarizing figure even inside the GOP -- he had a 52 percent-4 percent fav/unfav rating among Tea Party Republicans. But among non-Tea Party Republicans, it was just 13 percent-23 percent.
Below is the full memo....
From: DNC, DSCC, DCCC, DGA & DLCC
To: Interested Parties
Date: Friday, October 25, 2013
RE: Ted Cruz’s Republican Party
Tonight, Ted Cruz is keynoting the Iowa GOP’s Reagan Dinner.
But as a headline in the conservative Washington Times put it this week, “Forget Ronald Reagan, Republican candidates race to be the next Ted Cruz.”
Make no mistake: Ted Cruz is leading the Republican Party. Candidates want to be him. Incumbents are afraid of him. The Republican Party base is energized by him.
Cruz comes to Iowa tonight after winning the Values Voters Presidential straw poll and fresh off orchestrating a government shutdown and bringing our nation to the brink of defaulting on our obligations. Cruz’s shutdown cost our economy $24 billion, forced over 800,000 federal workers to be furloughed and risked a default that would have tanked the global economy.
Ted Cruz and the Republican Party’s actions hurt the American people, but instead of learning from their mistakes and changing their ways, Republicans are doubling down and standing by Cruz.
That may please the Republican Party at events like tonight’s Reagan Dinner in Des Moines, but his brand of conservatism is already a liability for Republicans running for office in 2014 in Iowa.
Cruz’s Impact on Iowa Congressional Races
The Iowa Senate race has been an unmitigated disaster for Republicans consisting of a messy primary littered with 2nd and 3rd tier candidates fighting to see who can be the most like Ted Cruz. Case in point is the way that Joni Ernst, Sam Clovis & Matt Whitaker recklessly and irresponsibly supported a continuation of the government shutdown that damaged Iowa’s economy and wasted taxpayer dollars for more than two weeks, hurting hard-working families across the state.
Ernst, Clovis & Whitaker’s recklessness and irresponsibility forecasts major problems for them in 2014. New polling shows Bruce Braley up 4 points over a generic Republican but the lead grows to 7 when voters learn he opposed the shutdown. It’s clear that, unlike Bruce Braley, Iowa’s GOP senate hopefuls would rather stand with Ted Cruz and his reckless and irresponsible political agenda than with Iowa families.
In the House, two vulnerable Republicans have been particularly egregious supporters of the Cruz strategy and shutdown itself: Tom Latham (IA-03) and Steve King (IA-04).
Congressman Latham is taking on water for his lack of leadership during the GOP Shutdown. A recent Des Moines Register editorial (a paper that endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012) chastised Latham for his lack of leadership saying, “Had Latham stepped up…the shutdown and debt ceiling cliffhanger might have been averted.”
Congressman Steve King has been one of the cheerleaders for Cruz’s brand of reckless conservatism that resulted in shutdown and King wanted to ‘keep this thing going’ as the government reopened. It’s no surprise that a poll conducted during the shutdown found that King is vulnerable in his 2014 reelection.
Cruz’s Impact on the 2014 Iowa Governor’s Race and State Legislative Races
Governor Branstad has shown time and time again that he would rather side with Tea Party extremists over Iowa's middle class families, veterans, and students.
As thousands of Iowans felt the effects of the Ted Cruz-led government shutdown, Governor Branstad downplayed its impact and refused to criticize it. Hundreds of Iowans have already asked Gov. Branstad to boycott Cruz’s Des Moines appearance in the wake of his government shutdown that left important agriculture loans unprocessed and put early childhood education programs at risk. And still, the headlines this week read, “Branstad ready to welcome Cruz to Iowa.”
Much like Senator Cruz, Republicans in the Iowa statehouse would rather attack the health and livelihood of Iowans than support job creating legislation. If Republicans in the Iowa legislature continue to pursue Cruz-like policies it will help ensure that Democrats keep control of the Senate and take back the Iowa House next year.
Up and down the ticket, the reckless and irresponsible political tactics of Ted Cruz are being admired and adopted by Iowa Republicans. How much further will they go to side with Ted Cruz over those whom they were elected to serve?
First published October 25 2013, 10:30 AM