Ted Cruz surges to the front of the pack in Iowa; Marco Rubio, now in second place in New Hampshire, has a strategy for neutralizing Cruz; Cruz wins with Rand Paul’s supporters; and Iowa hopes there will be no repeats of 2012’s disasters.
- Cruz surges to first place in Iowa.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared news with you regarding Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s overtures to conservative evangelical voters – a powerful constituency in the GOP nominating process, especially in Iowa and South Carolina. And now it seems those efforts have paid off in a big way for Cruz. A new Monmouth University survey shows Cruz surging to first place with 24 percent in Iowa. Donald Trump is in second place, five points behind Cruz. Ben Carson has slipped to third place, with just 13 percent. In October, a similar Monmouth survey showed Carson polling at 32 percent and leading all the other candidates.
So just what accounts for Cruz’s meteoric rise in the past few months? First, Cruz now has a commanding lead with evangelical conservatives in the state. In fact, Cruz now has a two-to-one lead over Carson with this crucial bloc of voters. And second, Congressman Steve King’s recent endorsement has created new momentum for Cruz.
According to the Monmouth poll, about 20 percent of likely Iowa caucusgoers said King’s endorsement makes them more likely to support Cruz for president, compared to only seven percent who said it made them less likely to support Cruz.
Read more at: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/262306-poll-cruz-surges-ahead-of-trump-carson-in-iowa
- Rubio’s task: stopping Cruz’s momentum.
We’re not the only ones taking an interest in Cruz’s rise in the polls – Marco Rubio and his team are not only taking notice of Cruz’s jump in the polls, they’re changing their focus to halt Cruz’s momentum. As The New York Times notes this week, “Mr. Rubio has abruptly changed course, zeroing in on Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in an urgent effort to halt his momentum with conservative voters in this state and beyond.”
Rubio hopes to stop Cruz’s rise with two key messages he believes will damage Cruz in the eyes of conservatives: First, that Cruz is not as tough on national security as Rubio is. In the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino, CA attacks, this could prove to be a “fatal vulnerability.” The second message relates to one of Rubio’s own weaknesses: immigration and involved a bit of political ju jitsu, an attempt to turn a weakness into a strength. Rubio’s team believes Cruz is getting a pass on immigration and is falsely viewed as a “hardliner” on immigration. Consequently, Rubio has begun reminding voters that Cruz supports “legalizing people that are in this country illegally.”
As The Times notes, Rubio’s team is feeling the heat from Cruz’s surge in Iowa: “No wonder, then, that Mr. Rubio has taken to tying Mr. Cruz to liberal lightning rods like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming that Mr. Cruz worked with them ‘to harm our intelligence programs.’ Or that Mr. Rubio is portraying Mr. Cruz as a hypocrite on immigration who backs ‘a massive expansion’ of green cards and of the work visas for foreigners with college degrees and specialized skills.”
We’ll keep you updated about Rubio’s strategy and its effects in the coming weeks.
Read more about Rubio’s new focus here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/07/us/politics/marco-rubio-switching-focus-aims-to-halt-ted-cruzs-momentum.html
- Rand Paul has a Ted Cruz problem.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s chances of winning the GOP nomination for president are quickly fading. A big part of Paul’s problem capturing Republican voters’ attention can be summed up in two words: Ted Cruz.
National Review has an article out this week that describes how Ted Cruz has managed to develop a “third way” on foreign policy that combines elements of Marco Rubio’s hawkishness with elements of Rand Paul’s libertarianism. With this strategy, Cruz has been able to win over many of Paul’s libertarian-leaning supporters, as well as many within the GOP who are uncomfortable with Paul’s non-interventionist policies. Paul, as a result, is struggling to gain a footing with GOP voters, and is now polling around 2 percent.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428081/rand-paul-ted-cruz-problem
- Rubio rises in New Hampshire.
Four of the five most recent polls conducted in New Hampshire have Marco Rubio in second place, with Donald Trump in first place in all five polls. The Hill notes that Rubio’s overall improvement in the polls has been “modest but steady.” Rubio now stands at 12 percent in the RealClearPolitics average, up from 10 percent last month and just 7 percent in October.
For more on Rubio’s rise, see: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/262169-rubio-rises-in-new-hampshire#
- The Iowa GOP wants to be sure to get it right next year.
Rick Santorum won the 2012 Iowa caucuses, but never enjoyed the fruits of his hard-fought upset victory – due to a botched ballot-counting process, Mitt Romney was erroneously declared the winner on Caucus Night, and by the time the Iowa GOP’s errors were uncovered and corrected, Santorum had lost the chance at momentum that should have gone his way. That mistake had serious implications, as Romney went on to win the GOP nomination.
The Iowa GOP promises the 2016 election will be different.
Iowa’s Republican Party officials say they have taken drastic steps to address the “problems that plagued the ballot count in 2012,” and have implemented new technologies for 2016.
But it’s those “new technologies” that have some worried. The Iowa GOP will be using an entirely new technological platform for the very first time, and there could be problems associated with the rollout of the platform. Another problem in Iowa is that the caucuses are carried out by volunteer activists, which adds another complication.
With so many candidates in the GOP field, it would be difficult to overstate the importance of getting this vote count right.
In an interview with The Hill, Iowa State University political science professor Steffen Schmidt says: “At least last time we still knew coming out of [the 2012 caucuses] that there were two front-runners. This time, there could be several campaigns dependent on their candidate edging out one or two others. [The Iowa GOP state officials] absolutely have to get this right.”
For more on this story, see: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/262186-iowa-gop-seeks-to-prevent-repeat-of-botched-2012-caucus
Jenny Beth Martin & the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Support Team