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

    Should be a fun circus to watch. Everyone knows what happened the last time we elected a conservative from Texas.

    April 2, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. MTATL67

    That is not test that's validation. If this blow hard wind bag wants a test he should got to New York, Massachusetts, California. Which he won't do because we all know he would fail. We elected President Obama with over 50% of the vote What makes these extremists think they even have a shot at the oval office.

    April 2, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |

    Ted Cruz = Sarah Palin in a suit.

    April 2, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Tony asked:

    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.
    Most people in the right wing tend seek out answers from "reliable sources", and then believe and do what they are told. Most of those are "single issue" voters, and those issues are usually social issues.

    April 2, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Kimberly

    OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE run!!! The start of the GOP race is like the first few episodes of American Idol. You get to see all the weirdos and no talent hacks get on stage, make fools of themselves, and laugh! Its great fun!!!!

    April 2, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. ShawnDH


    April 2, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    We all know only gop garbage comes from Texas ,Perry bush peewee Cruz ,that's all fools ,if your dumb enough to vote for this Canadians wetback!!!!

    April 2, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. AZ Girl

    You know, growing up, we were told that if you tried hard enough, that you could be anything, even the President of the US. As long as you were a citizen, ANYONE could be President. You didn't have to be rich, from a certain state, ANYONE could be President. Sadly I didn't know that ANYONE meant the crazy people too.

    April 2, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. chris

    if nothing else we get to see all the liberal dummies showcasing their ignorance by posting jerry springer-esque comments.

    April 2, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Jason

    Another "W" from the teatroll state of Tejas

    April 2, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The north Korea s should drone strke this selection of gop teaparty garbage and do the world and us a favor , thanks softball head with hair !!!!

    April 2, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Steven

    OK, you guys remember Rick, I-can't-remember-my-talking-points, Perry? Well, Ted is one step removed from the cave.

    April 2, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. sgs

    He's as qualified as the one in the White House! At least he loves the country

    April 2, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    So long as we're sharing, here's one of my favorite Bible verses straight from Judges 4:14, wanna hear it? Here it goes:

    "Then Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left."

    Are we playing Bible Spades, because my Bible verse trumps your Bible verse
    See how silly this is?

    April 2, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Mike

    This guy is a flash in the pan. His 15 minutes are nearly up.

    April 2, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. TomGI

    Ted Cruz is a blatant habitual liar. I just pray the GOP will have the stones to run this lying gas bag for president.

    April 2, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    "He was born in Canada it can't happen..."

    Calgary. (For the record). Not exactly what I'd call a "US Service Members" US residence. We'd have to see his original long form birth certificate of the official Canadian birth hospital for verification. With the official notarized stamp of approval. Showing his baby foot prints. In triplicate.
    Yes. What she said PLUS we'd need to send two investigators to Calgary to make sure that the Governor or duly elected Canadian official is available to confirm the birth took place and validate the long-from birth certificate as an original and not a forgery.
    Additionally the sales of "I was born in Calgary, but I'm still a U.S. citizen" t-shirts, mugs, and other paraphernalia must match or exceed that of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in order to confirm that the people of the USA are truly convinced of his citizenship status, AND he would have to win by equal or greater margins than the current occupant of the Oval Office in order to be confirmed should he in fact win.
    I think that owuld cover it, don't you Lynda?!

    April 2, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Pete

    Cruz a Joe McCarthy wanne be will not fit well in S.Carolina just as Rubio wouldn't fit in California..S.Carolinians pretty much hate any Latino,Hispanic because they're fighting them off in droves trying to take real Americans ,the Carolinians jobs away..So if Cruz wants trouble just show up at one their good ole boys hog roasts and see who gets roasted next and it won't be a hog either I'll tell yah!!Remember most of them are still fighting the Civil War so beware yankees they don't like you much either...

    April 2, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I think that owuld cover it, don't you Lynda?!"

    Shouldn't we run it by Trump first? Or maybe that sheriff in Arizona? Once we've gotten past THEIR approval, yeah, I'm all for what you said. Including the " ... but, I'm still a U.S. citizen ... ".

    Might I just add ... " and I am too a REAL American also "

    April 2, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Doug from Seattle

    Go for it Ted!

    Your party's candidates just weren't true conservatives this past election!

    I'm really curious to see how many national election cycles it will take before you and your ilk finally figure out!!!

    April 2, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Galactus93

    We need a Republican who is not just going to roll over to the Democrats. We need our immigration laws enforced and not reward criminals. Ted Cruze knows this.

    April 2, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. roro

    Is this guy kidding? He's been in Congress for 2 1/2 months and he already thinks he's presidential material? What an arrogant egotistical jackhole!

    April 2, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC


    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
    Yes for sure. Thank you so much Chris for clearing that up for us.
    So just to re-cap: it matters not if President Obama had been born in a hut in Kenya (which of course he wasn't, he was born in Hawaii) he would still have fulfilled the prerequisites of citizenship by the very nature of his mother being a United States citizen.
    GOPers are not only hateful but really, really, REALLY stupid to boot.
    But definitely thanks Chris.

    April 2, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Andrew from West Haven, CT

    I find it so ironic how people trash the conservatives for their mean-spiriited and hateful comments and that's pretty much all I've seen here.

    Anyway, I think anyone has a better shot than Joe Biden who, you know advocates shooting through closed doors with a 12 gauge to defend oneself. Or claim that an AR-15 is too difficult to aim and too hard to control. Yeah, that's why we issue FULLY AUTOMATIC versions of it to all of our military. That's why it's popular with law enforcement and SWAT teams. That's why it's the most popular gun in 3-Gun matches. That's why it's the most popular semi-automatic centerfire rifle in the United States.

    Because it's too hard to control. Too difficult to aim. LOL

    What? Joe isn't going to run? Why not? He's the VP!! Oh, I get it. He's got no chance so Hillary will run instead. Gotcha. You know, even though historically VP's always ran after a president's 2nd term. But I guess Joe is not good enough for you folks. I more than understand.

    April 2, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. Michael

    As a native Texan, I really don't want him here in my state, but I really don't want him in DC making laws either. Hate mongers such as him are incredibly dangerous. His whole job is to stop anything from being done. Paying a parasite who feed off of decaying old thought with our government dollars is sad.

    April 2, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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