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. mathew

    I thought Cruz is a naturalized citizen and can't be president?

    April 2, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. rs

    So much for not being the
    Party of Stupid" (as Mr. Jindal wisely told the GOP to not be). Not only is this guy a kook, he is precisely the kind of candidate the GOP should not place first in their next clown car of candidates. At least with this one, the Democrats can ask for a birth certificate!

    So much for the GOP learning from their pounding from the last election.

    April 2, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC said:
    I'm pretty certain that "sniffit" is a she. I think. I think I'm sure. Therefore, I am.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm pretty sure I remember him correcting someone who also thought he was a "she". I think I'm sure about that, but with menopause, and bills and life stuff who the hell knows what I remember correctly! But I'm pretty sure.
    LOL!!

    April 2, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Yanni

    The name is Cruz the re-incarnation of Joseph McCarthy. Look at this picture and remember you are looking at the poster picture of the Republican Party

    April 2, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. ritmocojo

    Born in Canada, thank God! Can never run for POTUS. Thank God again! Whew!!

    April 2, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. mary

    I don't think he's eligible to be President.

    April 2, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    mathew wrote:

    I thought Cruz is a naturalized citizen and can't be president?
    -----------------–
    Correct. Cruz is no more eligible to be POTUS than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    April 2, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sniffit is a guy and a lawyer. I do recall that much.

    April 2, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    And, where is CNN to even consider NOT mentioning Cruz was born in Calgary while giving him potential presidential raising star headlines?

    April 2, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. CarolinaGirl

    Come on down to the sunny south. The state of SC will even try to say you are a citizen of the good ole USA. They will vote for anyone. They want to put Sandford back in the political arena. I am so embarrased!

    April 2, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. Jill-IN

    So what is Cruz testing the waters for? I thought he was born in Canada. I wouldn't vote for him under any circumstances.

    April 2, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correct. Cruz is no more eligible to be POTUS than Arnold Schwarzenegger
    -------------------------------------------------
    ..Or me...sigh!

    April 2, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama: "I'm pretty sure I remember him correcting someone who also thought he was a "she". I think I'm sure about that, but with menopause, and bills and life stuff who the hell knows what I remember correctly! But I'm pretty sure."

    Been there, done that, my friend ... ALL OF IT. But, I too, remember Sniffit discussing himself as a he. Then again, I don't know who is who on the ticker, so technically speaking, I might be wrong.

    Reminds me of Christine O'Donnell's ... "I AM YOU" ... tour.

    April 2, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    I see where this Canadian born Cruz candidacy is headed.

    Obviously, Eleanor Darragh( a foreign sounding name if ever there was one) and I note, not a last name of Cruz, took her as yet unborn babe to Canada and gave birth and then he was indoctrinated by those subversive Canucks for 4 years and then spirited down to Texas where the trail could be covered. There, is was again indoctrinated into the Southern Baptist Cult.

    One day he will rise to world leader of the free world and with his Canadian roots about royalty, he will dissolve the Constitution by decree, establish himself as king, and make all tax payers in the United States tithe 10% to the Southen Baptist Cult.

    Remember, you read it first!

    April 2, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sniffit is a guy and a lawyer. I do recall that much.
    -------------------------------------------------
    There you go then, thanks Dutch.

    April 2, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They will vote for anyone. They want to put Sandford back in the political arena. I am so embarrased!"

    Welcome to the club! We in Minnesota have voted some rather strange folks in as well. The good news for us is, we don't center on one specific party.

    We've had 'em all. Democrats (Coleman turned from [D] to [R] ), Republicans (Bachmann), and independent minded Libertarians (Jesse the Body Ventura). I'm not sure what it says about Minnesota, but I'm guessing depending on what side of the aisle you hail from, it's nothing good.

    April 2, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Bohnersks

    Oh please run Ted! Not sure who would provide more fodder. Ted McCarthy or Sarah Circus Palin.

    April 2, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Bohnersks

    You better believe that the crazy birthers wouldn't say a peep about their poster boy Cruz being born in Canada.

    April 2, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. Chris

    Rudy NYC

    mathew wrote:

    I thought Cruz is a naturalized citizen and can't be president?
    -----––
    Correct. Cruz is no more eligible to be POTUS than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    He is not a Naturalized citizen. He was a citizen at birth which makes him a Natural Born Citizen.

    If you are going to talk about the issues at least know the law you are speaking about.

    April 2, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Ted Cruz , Marco Rubio or Scott Walker

    Who looks and acts more like Joseph McCarthy ?

    April 2, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Dallas

    I have a horrible feeling that he would be eligible since his mother was an American born in Delaware. Even those on the far right should be very afraid of this loon. He got elected here in Texas by a fluke and if we could recall him we would. He scares the hell out of me with his wild and archaic views of the world. Joe McCarthy reborn. Be afraid, be very afraid of this man!

    April 2, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Pete

    Canadian Ay,Cruz much like McCain born in a foriegn land and McCain it was just recently discovered couldn't really run because his birth wasn't really in a military hospital in Panama as earlier recorded..He was born miles away in a small Panamanian village while his mother was traveling ,not as previously said so again McCain as usual lied again!!

    April 2, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. XXX

    Very clever of CNN that they do not show our gender status. I can't imagine how I could have been attacked by the people from the other side, they way I have been giving them the right medicine, if they could have known my gender.

    April 2, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. ritmocojo

    They do real good Kooking down in Teaxas.

    April 2, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Nealski

    The Washington Post ran an article on the question of Cruz's eligibility. According to the Post, this question has been asked before with George Romney's presidential campaign in 1967 given that he was born in Mexico to U.S. citizens. Even then it was determined that this satisfied the 14th Amendment and has been used in cases before and since, the most recent being John McCain who was born in the Panama Canal zone.

    In short, since Cruz's mother was a U.S. citizen at his birth and U.S. law states that any child of a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen regardless of the fact that he was born in Canada.

    April 2, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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