Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Houston Monday evening, Ted Cruz formally announced his campaign for re-election to the United States Senate.
Roughly 400 activists packed the Redneck Country Club, a honky-tonk owned and operated by Houston conservative radio “czar” Michael Berry who introduced Cruz for the evening and began his remarks by touting Cruz’s 2013 filibuster against funding Obamacare that resulted in a government shutdown, his against-the-odds presidential campaign, and his strong stance on immigration.
“I am proud to call Sen. Ted Cruz my friend. I am proud to call him my US Senator. But I am never more proud than when I watch him on the floor of the US Senate and all those people around him are giving him the glare, mad dogging him, and Ted Cruz saying in his heart of hearts as he’s done with conviction his entire life, ‘I’m here to do a job and nobody is going to stop me’ and I want to send him back for six years,” he said.
Cruz took the stage to Alabama’s “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas,” a tune that the senator’s campaign has co-opted into a jingle jabbing his opponent, Democrat Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of El Paso.
“If you’re gonna run in Texas,” the ad goes, “You can’t be a liberal man. ‘Cause liberal thought is not the spirit of a Lone Star man. You’ve gotta be tough as Texas and honest about your plans.”
“Tough as Texas,” is the slogan of Cruz’s re-election campaign and while much of his stump speech featured the familiar themes of standing up to the establishment, defending the Constitution, and other conservative hallmarks, the majority of the program highlighted the sacrifices everyday Texans made for their fellow Texans over the past year.
Indeed, Cruz highlighted Houston’s Mattress Mack, who opened his Gallery Furniture stores to provide shelter to those flooded out of their homes, and Stephen Willeford, an NRA rifle instructor who sprang into action during the church massacre last year in Sutherland Springs and helped subdue the individual responsible.
“The legacy of Harvey is the heroes,” said Cruz. “The firefighters, the police officers, the first responders who leapt forward to help their fellow citizens…. the thousands of Texans who jumped in boats and went out to save their neighbors.”
While Cruz is a heavy favorite to win re-election in ruby red Texas, a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide in nearly a quarter century, his campaign is beginning to ramp up and take O’Rourke seriously and has brought on additional field staff around the state to make an all-out push through the November election.