Trump out, Paul in tonight’s debate; Cruz’s outreach to evangelicals; and Rubio’s survival strategy


Thank you to everyone who participated in our endorsement process over the past month! We appreciate your time and input throughout this promise, and we will have more information about the results in the coming days.

Here’s a quick look at the latest political news:

Trump skips FOX News/Google debate tonight.
Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any more dramatic on the Donald Trump campaign, they invariably do. And this week is no exception, as Trump has declared that he will sit out tonight’s debate hosted by FOX News and Google. As Politico reports, Trump announced at a press conference that “he wouldn’t participate in Thursday’s Fox News showdown because co-moderator Megyn Kelly is biased against him, and because he found Fox’s response to his concerns childish.”

Instead of participating in the GOP debate, Trump’s campaign will host a charity event to benefit wounded warriors. As campaign manager Corey Lewandowski described, “We’ll have an event here in Iowa, with potentially another network, to raise money for Wounded Warriors and Fox will go from having probably 24 million viewers for the debate to, you know, 2 million viewers.”

This is a risky move for Trump – Iowans are well known for jealously guarding the status of their first-in-the-nation caucuses, and they insist that candidates respect their process. We well remember the 1980 GOP caucuses, when Ronald Reagan – frontrunner at the time – chose to skip the final debate in Iowa, and was defeated just days after the debate by a surging George Herbert Walker Bush, who capitalized on many Iowans’ displeasure with Reagan for having skipped their debate.

For more on the Trump story, see Politico: Donald Trump Quits Debate to Stay Center Stage And for more on the Reagan back story, see Breitbart: Biographer: When Reagan Skipped Iowa Debate in 1980 ‘It Was Not a Similar Situation at All’

Rand Paul back on the debate stage; Jim Gilmore reappears at undercard debate.
In other debate news, Rand Paul will be back on the main debate stage tonight. After failing to meet the polling requirement for this month’s earlier debate in South Carolina, Paul, you will recall, refused to take part in the undercard debate, so this will be his first debate of the new year. And in another development, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore will be back on the debate stage in the undercard debate after failing to qualify for the past five debates.

For more on the debate line-up, see Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Rand Paul Back on GOP Primetime Debate Stage as Donald Trump Mulls Exit – Washington Wire

How Ted Cruz courts evangelicals.
If you’re an evangelical, Ted Cruz and his father have a message for you: God wants you to vote (and He probably wants you to vote for Cruz)! As the Texas Senator’s father, Pastor Rafael Cruz said during a speech at Liberty University (with 77,000 students, the world’s largest Christian university), ‘‘God is saying to you: ‘Vote for righteous people.’’’ And Ted Cruz has spent a great deal of time during this election cycle trying to prove his “righteous” credentials to the evangelical crowd.

In a New York Times Magazine piece, noted author Robert Draper shows what a natural Ted Cruz is at speaking the language of the evangelical – in stark contrast to Donald Trump, who often appears less at ease in his overtures to evangelicals. Ted Cruz’s campaign literature includes pieces about praying for his family, he regularly prays on the campaign, and he is comfortable quoting scripture. Trump, on the other hand, during a speech at Liberty University “… botched a Bible quotation and, against university rules, uttered a profanity, two miscues that Cruz would never commit.”

A large part of Cruz’s potential path to victory rests on the success of his evangelical outreach and his campaign’s ability to energize and turn out this bloc of voters. The results in Iowa next week will reveal how successful this strategy has been.

For more on Ted Cruz’s evangelical strategy, see New York Times: Ted Cruz’s Evangelical Gamble

A look at Marco Rubio’s survival plan.
Given the latest public polling information, it is very possible, if not likely, that Florida Senator Marco Rubio will come in third place in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night. And his team is busy making sure that third-place ranking looks like “the victory they always wanted.”

For months now, Rubio’s strategy has been to survive below the radar. Unlike the familiar strategy many presidential campaigns take to try to dominate in the early primaries, a key part of Rubio’s strategy has been to just hang in there while other candidates were “kicked off the island.”

Politico offers an insightful analysis of Rubio’s long-term strategy: “As the top two candidates duke it out, Rubio appears increasingly confident as he closes out a week of campaigning across Iowa. With his establishment rivals seemingly ceding Iowa and campaigning in other states and the two candidates in front of him focused on one another, Rubio suddenly has more space to maneuver. He is amping up his Iowa schedule, holding three or four events a day.”

For more on this story, see Politico: Behind Marco Rubio’s Survival Strategy

That’s it for this newsletter. Keep fighting for freedom!


Jenny Beth Martin & the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Support Team

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