Cruz to test 2016 waters with South Carolina trip
April 2nd, 2013
07:51 AM ET
2 years 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. Sniffit

    "It would be nice if he got the nomination in 2016 because it would be a landslide for the Democrats."

    Indeed. Cruz has already pledged to filibuster any immigration reform that contains a pathway to citizenship. Therefore, his time as a national player is limited and the clock is ticking.

    April 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Bill

    If Democrats go down the "birther" path – even a step- it will seriously come back to haunt them in every race. McCain wasn't born in the United States and nobody raised the issue with him. Why now raise the same issue with Cruz? Hopefully, most Democratic strategists will think twice about even hinting at the citizenship issue and instead focus on challenging Cruz's lack of experience, his political positions and/or concerns about his ability to actually do the job.

    April 2, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Rosslaw

    "He's a Jim DeMint style of republican". And a comparison with the hopelessly incompetent former senator from S.C. who may have single-handedly helped the Democrats preserve their majority in the Senate in the last two election cycles is meant to be a compliment! Cruz, please run, the debates would be priceless.

    April 2, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Walter Adams

    McCain was born on American property. Cruz was born in Canada. Big difference. At one time McCain was willing to govern. Cruz is only willing to obstruct. Big Difference.

    April 2, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Mark from IN

    Oh pah-lease! baby, baby please! run for the Gods Of the People party nomination. Then I could finally get over Sarah P.

    April 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. harry Baxter

    Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada. His Mother was an American Citizen, but his Father was born in Cuba.
    Barak Obama was born in Hawaii, a US State. His Mother was an American Citizen, but his Father was born in Africa. The GOP will, no doubt, claim that Cruz has a perfect right to run for President, but Obama had no such right, and by claiming this, they will all admit to catching the stupid infection from Donald Trump. There's also a good chance that by 2016, his stupid state of Texas will have seceded from the Union.

    April 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. blue max

    maybe he needs to self deport back to canada

    April 2, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "If Democrats go down the "birther" path – even a step- it will seriously come back to haunt them in every race."

    Ah, come on Bill. You don't find this even the tiniest bit humorous?

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    The Naturalization Act and the McCarran-Walter Act. Two pieces of legislation you will suddenly hear GOPers/Teatrolls talking about after 4+ years of birther nonsense. Thanks for the help proving it Chris.

    April 2, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Larry L

    As a Texan I've seen a lot about Cruz. He is more dangerous than Governor "Oops" Perry because he's both clever and evil. He will say or do anything to gain political power and he holds the working-class in contempt. He's a right-winger who'd much prefer fascism to democracy. He knows how to enrage the far-right with sound-bites and hate messages. He is absolutely the worst possible choice for America and an embarrassment to the State of Texas.

    April 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. kirby

    Sen. Ted "Pablo Cruise" Cruz???? That know-nothing, no-to-everything hack???? His "NO" vote on John Kerry's confirmation, about someone he knows NOTHING about, was yet another embarrassment to the State of Texas. Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran (as is Chuck Hagel); what in the hell has Ted Cruz ever done?? Cruz might support gun ownership but he didn't come close to picking one up in defense of his country. He and his "principles" stand on quicksand. John Coryn new buddy of obstructionist in congress

    April 2, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. RCM

    The 2016 GOP clown car is starting to fill up!

    April 2, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. ritmocojo

    Joseph McCarthy re-incarnate. Or Joseph McCarthy 2.0. Take your un-pick.

    April 2, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Tony

    This is getting sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet he was born in canada but he is qualified to run for President of the USA, Obama was born in the USA and he is not i am really trying to figure this out it seem easy but maybe i am missing something can one of you Retealicans explain this to me, i come in peace.

    April 2, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. z2cents

    Please do...i will never say no to good entertainment

    April 2, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. judith

    I'd love to see this bat-crazy extremist get the GOP nomination. It would guarantee a tidal wave landslide for Democrats. Indeed, the poster above is quite right–Cruz is the very reincarnation of Joe McCarthy. He even bears a physical resemblance to the drunken witch-hunter.

    April 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    Yes, because SC is the state where you want to make your mark. ppalachian hiking anyone? Dimwit anyone? Ms. Graham anyone? There's more but these three are a good start.
    That being said why is it that President Obama, who WAS born in Hawaii, has had the crazy frump led birthers going berserk and we now have this Canadian born son of a Cuban and an American mother trying to be president?
    Am I the only who sees the irony of this? Wow! Talk about ammunition against this degenerate.

    April 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Barbramania

    With the demographic changes in Texas he'll be lucky to keep his Senate seat. No need to worry about national ambitions. Cruz's problem is he's just too smart by half. People will quickly tire of him.

    April 2, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. CLT

    Now this is a funny........ Bwa haha

    April 2, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    The Naturalization Act and the McCarran-Walter Act. Two pieces of legislation you will suddenly hear GOPers/Teatrolls talking about after 4+ years of birther nonsense. Thanks for the help proving it Chris.
    ----------------–

    April 2, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. hennagaijin

    Just what we need....another Rick Perry. Here in San Antonio,there are 396,000 folks without health care. This guy and his pal Rick are working hard to keep it that way. Texas is #1 in uninsured people – 26%of the population.And he's proud of that. All the while opposing any increase in the minimum wage – in a state with the most working under it,
    A bona fide loser. He HAS to go.Let him work for his criminal Wall Street friends.

    April 2, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Tony

    I have a question to ask mind you i come in peace here it goes the people not all of them seem a majority of southcarolinians, do they really know that they are stupid, or are they pretending to be stupid, or it is a norm in that state? can someone answer this question for me.

    April 2, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. robert

    Oh! Please run. it will be fun all over again to see the racist part go at each other

    April 2, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. dannymetro

    With his big mouth, doesn't he sound a lot like another Cuban who resides off the Florida coast....yeah Mr. Ted "Fidelito" Cruz

    April 2, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. RonnieRaygun

    Senator Cruz,

    Go back to Canada/Cuba. Please.

    April 2, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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