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. M-W-T

    This guy's an IDIOT........I hope he runs........America will show him how much of an IDIOT he really is.....

    April 2, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. DJ Reality

    Boy and republicans first said Obama was unqualified. Cruz is the most unqualified republican I have ever seen. He has a snowballs chance in you know where to be elected. After on term? Boy does he have an ego. And that is all he has....

    April 2, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Truthis

    A mental evaluation should be mandatory for politicians combined with laws forbidding the mentally insane from holding office.

    April 2, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. The Left Wing

    Ah, this is perfect. Cruz is just the guy to push the Republican Party to the right. If he is nominated, he loses big time. If he is not nominated and a moderate Republican (if they still exist) is, that moderate will have to move so far right in the primaries that he'll lose too. I think we saw this story in the last two presidential elections. Jeez, Republicans are slow learners.

    April 2, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. Jabbo

    Go ahead and run for the GOP nomination! Drain funds from the GOP candidates that were born in the US, Make my day, Ted "George Romney' Cruz. You cannot be President and you KNOW it. One of my Senators....'Even so, come quickly, Lord!'

    April 2, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. bill

    Cruz wants to test 2016 waters: I hope he drowns in it.

    April 2, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. iSuggest

    He was not born in US, so how can he be president?

    April 2, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. doug

    Uh – CNN did not do a good job of checking out where Cruz was born.....he was born in Canada – DAMN!!!! Check out his BIRTH CERTIFICATE!!!! The nut case was born in Canada – he can NOT be Prez!!!!! Even his own website states that!!! CNN messed up big time!!!

    April 2, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. JennyTX

    I want everyone to know that there actually are plenty of intelligent, caring people in Texas (especially here in Austin). They're not all like Cruz, Perry, and Bushes 1 and 2.

    April 2, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. USAPeasant

    Don't know much about Cruz, and don't realyl have an opinion of him good or bad since he is after all a newly minted Senator.

    However, a quick browse on wikipedia reveals that Cruz is ineligible to run for President. If wikipedia is to be believed Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada thus making him ineligible to run for President.

    April 2, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. beesap

    Art. II, Secton 1, Subsection (5) – No Person except a natural born Citizen....shall be eligible for to the Office of President.

    Am I missing something here – Cruz is not a natural born citizen. He is a citizen b/c his mother was a US citizen.

    April 2, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. ARMYCSM

    You people are killing me...ROFLMAO w/tears

    April 2, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. whitepine

    Cruz is just a loud mouth who wants to be a celebrity. Being a GOP politicians is a lazy man's way of getting rich. Heck, they don't have to work to make a 6 figure salary, free health care, free golf, lots of vacation time. Then citizens, called corporations, give you money for campaigning and voting their way. And of course, Americans think you are great and vote for you.

    April 2, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. An Intelligent South Carolinian

    Contrary to what another poster stated, we are not all stupid in South Carolina and many of us are actually quite intelligent. We know a blow-hard McCarthy wannabe when we see one. I did not support DiMint, and unfortunately "you lie" Wilson represents my district, but he does not represent me. And I have rapidly lost any respect for Lindsay Graham.

    April 2, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. judith

    Nothing will put the GOP on the road to another electoral disaster than nominating Ted Cruz. He may think Hispanics would be deceived into voting for him just because of his last name, but they are not that gullible. Cruz is an extremist of the worst kind.

    April 2, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  16. Ryan Hoffland

    The only public office that he has served is that of Senator and he has only had the job for TWO MONTHS!!! What a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 2, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  17. ADM

    Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    April 2, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. SFC Michael Hicks

    "Birth Certfcate Please"i

    April 2, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Mack30

    No more republicans.

    April 2, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  20. North Dallas Don

    If Ted Cruz is ever elected president we may as well kiss our nation goodbye. His agenda is dangerous and, to further the potential problems, he's not very bright.

    April 3, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. Lupe Ramos

    Well yee haw to Senator Ted Joseph McCarthy Cruz. This is perfect because he is nut job who was elected by the Santorium, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck crowd mafia. How do humans support and elect these bozos? I guess it is okay because we need more clowns to make the election fun and funny. Let us hope the bimbos Bachmann and Palin step into the 3 ring circus because they are the queens of Looney Ville. This guy has been scolded by his own party for his delusional out of control conspiracy theory comments, and shut down by a powerful and experienced woman senator. Bring it on Teddy! Your stupidity is keeps your party from winning!

    April 3, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  22. Penny Wright

    Cruz = Joseph McCarthy

    April 3, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  23. cbp

    Exactly what experience does Sen. Cruz have which would make him a good candidate for President? He is more like Sen. McCarthy and far less presidential. He definitely speaks before he thinks and has made some statements that should come back to haunt him. The Republicans must have many good candidates and he would not be one of them.

    April 3, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  24. Wes Scott

    I am glad that Ted Cruz is getting this type of GOP exposure. The rest of the world needs to see what people in Texas already see – a Neanderthal mentality awash in religious conservatism that fits perfectly within the framework of the GOP's perpetual losing strategy on the national stage. Cruz even makes Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Texas US Senator John Cornyn look reasonable by comparison.

    April 3, 2013 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  25. trent1280

    Ted Cruz was born in Calgary.

    According to all of the Republican birthers out there, this makes him automatically and irrevocably unqualified to be President. Thanks to the Republican Tea Party, we know that Cruz will never serve as President.

    Ted Cruz was born singing 'O Canada.' Thanks to Orly Taitz, Donald Trump, the Tea Party, and The Birthers, he will never - ever - get to be President. Phew!

    April 3, 2013 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
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