Cruz to test 2016 waters with South Carolina trip
April 2nd, 2013
07:51 AM ET
1 year ago

Cruz to test 2016 waters with South Carolina trip

Cambridge, Massachusetts (CNN) – He’s been in Washington only three months, but U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is already planning a pilgrimage to a critical presidential primary state.

The outspoken Cruz, a conservative attorney who has sprinted headlong into the Washington media spotlight since his election last November, will be the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Republican Party's Silver Elephant Dinner, CNN has learned. Cruz spokesperson Catherine Frazier also confirmed his attendance at the dinner, slated for May 3 in Columbia.

Cruz has been an increasingly in-demand speaker among grassroots Republicans thanks to his blunt conservatism and willingness to ruffle feathers on Capitol Hill. He has delivered speeches at glitzy dinners in Washington and even at a local GOP event in Ohio.

But his trip to South Carolina will be his first public foray into an early primary or caucus state, a signal that he is dead serious about being a part of the 2016 presidential conversation despite his limited time on the national stage.

“His popularity among the activists in South Carolina is already so huge he was a natural choice for the Silver Elephant,” a Republican involved in the planning of the event told CNN. “Our activists have been begging us to bring him. He is a rising star. He’s a Jim DeMint style of Republican.”

Indeed, this year’s Silver Elephant Banquet - a fundraiser for the state GOP - will be a tribute to DeMint, the former South Carolina senator who recently left office to head the conservative Heritage Foundation. DeMint endorsed Cruz in his successful 2012 GOP primary fight against Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

The South Carolina dinner has for years sought to highlight up-and-coming GOP leaders and presidential aspirants in a bid to stir up excitement among party activists. Speaking at the event also gives ambitious Republicans a chance to road test their message with an influential slice of the party's conservative base.

Past Silver Elephant speakers have included Ronald Reagan, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Mike Pence, and last year, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another possible 2016 White House contender.

Adding to the intrigue this year: Cruz will speak on the very same night that Vice President Joe Biden, himself a potential 2016 candidate, is set to make his early state debut as the headliner at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, held just a few miles away in downtown Columbia.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: South Carolina • Ted Cruz
soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    We may have to "stop and frisk" Marco Rubio for his papers, too. When he ran for the Senate, he was a little too assertive [translation, he lied about it] about when his parents came into the U.S. He stressed that he was born in Florida. Would Republicans dare to run an ineligible candidate? No doubt, some would think it would only be fair and leveling the playing field.

    April 2, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    Hmmm, poppa was a rollin' stone, and did not become a naturalized citizen until '05, mama was supposedly born in Delaware and little Rafael was born in Canada.

    Seems I have heard this all before, and the birthers and baggers went wild, now this McCarthy wannabe is the next "rising star" of the GOP.

    At least President O was born in Hawaii, not Canada.

    You clowns so did not learn from 2012, and I could not be happier!

    April 2, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    aside form his being Canadian born....this T-Troll would get SC rightie votes against ANY democrat no matter how much better the dem would be. SC would vote and go for ANY republican ALL THE TIME. Big test there Cruz...

    April 2, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Bill

    Already rolling out the candidates from the Michelle Bachmann wingnut faction of the party. I guess they want to lose in 2016 as well. Keep it up!!

    April 2, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    CNN, can a babe born in Canada to only one American citizen parent, be considered a "natural born" citizen when not born on a U.S. military outpost?

    April 2, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. DAVEF

    this is great – Rand, Marco and Cruz against Hillary??? The Clown car is filling up.

    April 2, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Len

    Heaven help us. The GOP lost in 2012 because we did hear your message and we did not like it...You will lose in 2014 and 2016. Why you have not changed your message.

    April 2, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Pete

    Cruz you're treading in dangerous waters bud because most S.Carolinians hate Hispanics plain and simple having to fight them daily just to keep their own jobs there...Are you going to lie like Rubio about your heritage and your struggles like he did so we the intelligent posters here can punch holes in it like Rubios blantant lies about when his family arrived here and his fines from taking contributions and spending them elsewhere..Just when will you idiotic republican minorities come to your senses and see that the majority of republicans the old white racist ones are playing you for fools..If you don't do what they want you'll be tossed to the curb like trash and you know I'm right because your partys been fighting against immigration reform for years and isn't that telling you something idiots,they don't want you here,never did ,never will so remember what I day because its fact not gospel!!

    April 2, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. Chris

    Not that I think Cruz should be running for President but he can run:

    8 USC § 1401 – Nationals and citizens of United States at birth:
    a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years

    So under the law, Senator Cruz is a Natural Born Citizen since his mother was a citizen who had lived in the United States for at least 5 years with at least 2 of those 5 years being after the age of fourteen.

    April 2, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. ST

    There is something wrong with either the Constitution or how to get the Senator job or both altogether.How did these anchor babies were allowed to run for Senators at the first place? Being a Senator is serving people, likewise being President.

    April 2, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    We will checking on Mommie's residency from 1965 to 1970 very, thoroughly...

    April 2, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. v_mag

    In never met a Canadian I didn't like. But then, I never met Ted Cruz.

    April 2, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Hope Sen Ted Cruz joins the other mediocre extremist candidates in making a run for the presidency in 2016. It just shows the rebranding efforts of the Republican Party is not serious or credible. Sen Ted Cruz is like a bad re-run of Sarah Palin's most ridiculous verbal gaffs.

    April 2, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. g

    history again he,ll be the first Canadian tea party president

    April 2, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Ted Cruz is going to test the waters as the next GOPer rising star for a potential 2016 presidential run? How droll is that?

    Good job, GOPers ... really. He's totally cool for GOPerville.

    April 2, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. bcrunner

    WOW!! The thing is he thinks he probably has a chance..... Becoming a Senator has gone to his head... he actually thinks his performance during the Chuck Hagel hearings was good... He is delusional!!

    April 2, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Chris wrote:

    So under the law, Senator Cruz is a Natural Born Citizen since his mother was a citizen who had lived in the United States for at least 5 years with at least 2 of those 5 years being after the age of fourteen.
    -------------------
    The law says the he is eligible to be a US citizen, but he will never be a "natural born citizen." The law defines citizenship, not your "natural born" status.

    Cruz was born as a Canadian. While John McCain was born in Panama, but he was born in an "outlying posession", a hospital on a US military base. Through a loophole, McCain was technically a "natural born citizen".

    Besides, let's take your argument to its' logical conclusion. Barack Obama. His mother was a "natural born citizen", and his father was an "alien". By your definition of natural born citizen, all of the 'birthers' are wrong. Obama could have been born in Kenya, and technically be a "natural born citizen". So, which is it?

    April 2, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The law says the he is eligible to be a US citizen, but he will never be a "natural born citizen." The law defines citizenship, not your "natural born" status.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Lawd, now we have to bring Sniffit to weigh in on this and you know he is not going to be as nice about this as Rudy NYC....!!

    April 2, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    So let's assume that these Rethugs are just blowing smoke up our derriere with Teddy's candidacy, who gets to keep any monies raised via one these convenient CPACS in pursuit of this doomed-from-the-get-go effort?

    April 2, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It sounds as if the GOP is trying to literally cash in on Ted's supposed popularity by any fictitious means available to them.

    April 2, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "The law says the he is eligible to be a US citizen, but he will never be a "natural born citizen." The law defines citizenship, not your "natural born" status."

    Lawd, now we have to bring Sniffit to weigh in on this and you know he is not going to be as nice about this as Rudy NYC....!!
    ------------
    I'm pretty certain that "sniffit" is a she. I think. I think I'm sure. Therefore, I am.

    April 2, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. ST

    Regardless what the law does say and what doesn't say. We (new born DEM birthers) will demand Cruz to show his birth certificate, the way the President showed his. This has to be done immediately even before he goes to S. Carolina or announces he is on the run. Contrary to that, we are ready to start the crusade.

    April 2, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. GOP = Greed Over People

    The bagger "birthers" wrong???

    Oh, Rudy NYC, say it ain't so...

    April 2, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It just shows the rebranding efforts of the Republican Party is not serious or credible..."

    Which leads us to ... who, exactly, are GOPer leadership trying to fool with their talk of rebranding and remessaging? Didn't we just play out the "Shake That Etch A Sketch" drama to it's logical conclusion? Thing is, all the shaking in the world can't completely erase GOPervilles Etch A Sketch flips and Etch A Sketch flops.

    April 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. PaulCat

    Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Birthers, WHERE ARE YOU?

    April 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8