The main goal for Sen. Ted Cruz tonight? Sending a crystal-clear message to Republican primary voters that he's the most consistent conservative running for president.
It's how Cruz hopes to set himself apart from the crowded field, particularly in front of what's expected to be a larger-than-usual audience for the first GOP debate.
"He's a consistent conservative," spokesperson Catherine Frazier said Thursday. "He's not just a campaign conservative. He is following through on promises he made for voters when he was elected to the Senate."
But Cruz's advisers also see tonight's debate as an opportunity to remind voters that Cruz fought for conservative principals even before he was elected to the Senate. Watch for him to bring up his experience as Texas Solicitor General, when he argued in front of the Supreme Court on issues revolving around religious liberty and state sovereignty. "That experience is still relevant today," said Frazier.
Cruz is no stranger to a debate stage, albeit at the collegiate level - remember, he was the nation's top debater during his time at Princeton - and tonight, don't be surprised to see him pivot to topics like the health care law, marriage sanctity, spending, and the effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
"He has taken on all the fights in Washington that are important to people tuning in tonight," said Frazier.