Senator Ted Cruz remains favored to win today’s Republican presidential primary election in Texas, but Donald
Drumpf Trump has been gaining on him. So much so that it now seems unlikely that Cruz will score more than 50 percent of the vote in the state, as once seemed possible. There’s even an outside chance that Drumpf Trump will overtake him in the final tally.
Who are these voters who prefer the New York businessman to their fellow Texan? A few days ago Politico spent time among those running Trump’s ground game in Dallas-Fort Worth to find out:
[Curt and Lee Rhoads cast] their vote for Trump three days ago. But they voted for Cruz’s senate bid in 2012. “I guess he’s been doing fine,” said Curt, a Vietnam veteran and retired signal worker for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, who wore a red Make America Great Again hat. “But for president? Nope.”
Trump has hijacked the average casual Tea Party voters such as the Rhoadses in this state—the kind of voters Cruz needs to expand his coalition beyond don’t-tread-on-me die-hards and Constitutionalists. “They’ve jumped into the political scene only recently and don’t have the strong ties to Cruz that the rest of us do,” Julie McCarty, president of the Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party, the deep red heart of the national movement, said of Trump voters. Tarrant County, where the rally was held, is home to the NE Tarrant County Tea Party, arguably the strongest Tea Party affiliate in the country. “They feel like they need to throw all the bums out…not realizing that not everyone is a bum.”
To these voters, Cruz might have delivered on his promise to do battle with D.C. insiders, but why vote for him as president when they can still keep them as their senator and get Trump in the Oval Office?
“I can see why he’s not liked in the Senate,” said Lee, a pharmacy technician. “Is he a senator?”