Before Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a principled constitutional conservative, entered the presidential race, many assumed that Cruz wouldn’t be able to raise the massive amount of money necessary to run a formidable campaign.
After all, Cruz is a grassroots candidate who spent much of his time in the Senate opposing what he refers to as the “Washington Cartel,” the entrenched establishment in both political parties, the political class that tends to attract the big-moneyed donors looking to buy favors from politicians.
One of the biggest surprises of the election season thus far has been Cruz’s emergence as one of the most prolific fundraisers in the crowded GOP field. In dollars contributed directly to a candidate’s campaign, aka: “hard money,” Cruz has received the most of any of the other Republican candidates, even more than establishment-backed Jeb Bush, not including PAC dollars.
Through the second quarter, in just over three months, Cruz’s campaign has directly raised more than $14.2 million. Amazingly, that amount is spread among 175,000 different contributions from all 50 states, with the average contribution amount being only $81, a sign of widespread grassroots support.
“The grassroots energy and support we are seeing is overwhelming,” said Cruz about his fundraising numbers. “In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina – and all across the country – we are seeing courageous conservatives coming together for real change. We’re reassembling the Reagan coalition – from conservatives to libertarians to people of Faith – and with the help of so many supporters, we will be able to deliver our optimistic message all across the country.”
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On Tuesday, Ted Cruz attended a fundraiser in the most unlikely of places, the far-left City of Seattle, a city that not only boasts leftist kook “Baghdad Jim” McDermott as its congressional representative and proudly erects a 16-foot statue of communist butcher Vladimir Lenin, but also was recently ranked as the third most liberal cities in America, behind Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
Held at the historic Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle, coincidentally the same venue that was simultaneously holding an event for Marxist loon, Senator Patty Murray on a different floor, Cruz was surrounded by a group of energized local conservative grassroot leaders.
Cruz, sounding Reaganesque and speaking without notes, something he is accustomed to doing, something that is rarely seen among today’s highly scripted politicians, told the approximate 50 attendees a story of his father escaping communism in Cuba and tied it into fighting for and preserving freedom in America.
“When I was a kid, my dad used to say to me over and over again, ‘When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?'” Cruz said. As some in the audience answered “nowhere,” Cruz said, “That is why everyone of us is here.”
Washington State Representative Graham Hunt, a combat veteran, opened the event with prayer and issued the following statement directly to Ted Cruz:
“Thank you for your unwavering efforts to ensure our future generations of Americans have an America envisioned by our founding fathers passed onto them. Thank you for being bold and standing up for religious liberty. Thank you for remaining true to your principles and standing for truth! May God continue to bless you and your family!”
“This is a room of patriots who are not prepared to go quietly into the night,” Cruz continued. “Who are not willing to give up on our children and grandchildren; who are not willing to surrender freedom or one word of the Constitution,” Cruz said with conviction to shouts of “Amen!” from the audience.
Veteran Bill Rowland, a veteran and business owner who also attended the Cruz fundraiser, said that “Cruz has laid out his plans when elected, which I believe matches that of many Americans that are tired of the same old ‘political’ dance. Senator Cruz has made it obvious through [his] historic position as a Senator.” Rowland described Cruz as “honest and outwardly focused” and someone who “does not follow the crowd.”
Cruz told the crowd that regulators are “descending on small businesses and strangling jobs,” leading him to tell a funny story from a few years ago when he was visiting with some farmers in West Texas.
“I asked them, I said, ‘What’s the difference between regulators and locusts?’ Cruz said to the farmers that the main difference was that you “can’t use pesticides on the regulators,” to which one old West Texas farmer leaned back and said with a southern accent, “Wanna bet?”
Jennifer Fetters, who chairs the Washington State Young Republicans, called attending the event a “surreal experience.”
“Mr. Cruz has a way with words. You just hang on for one inspiring word after another,” Fetters explained. “He has great plans for this country and makes you believe we can actually accomplish it if we work together. As he said, ‘Truth isn’t rhetoric.’ He speaks the truth and speaks to the heart of the people.”
Fetters, who worked the check-in table at the event, said that she was one of the first people to greet Cruz, describing him as “genuine from the first moment to the very last.”
“He inspired me to believe in this country again…to believe there is hope for better days when governing by the Constitution will prevail again,” Fetters said.
Peggy Hutt, a grassroots leader with the Tacoma Narrows Tea Party and the Washington State Corrdinator for Tea Party Patriots, said that Ted Cruz “has a plan he can articulate that resonates with us,” describing him as “a fighter for CONSERVATIVE values,” who is “GREAT with a room full of everyday Americans!” in an email to PolitiStick.
Hutt explained an instance where Cruz showed his wit and quickness on his feet. When Cruz explained that his flat tax plan would essentially eliminate the IRS, he joked that after his plan was effective, he would reassign the 90,000 newly laid-off IRS agents to patrol the Southern border.
When Kerry Hooks French, a friend of Hutt’s asked, “What? You want all those IRS agents in Texas?” Cruz replied, “Good point, Kerry. I had not thought of that,” resulting in a room full of laughter. Hutt described the answer as “priceless.”
Gig Harbor, Washington realtor, radio talk show host, and former congressional candidate Marty McClendon, who had been leaning towards supporting Mike Huckabee or Ben Carson for president, is now supporting Ted Cruz after attending the event.
“After meeting with and hearing Senator Cruz speak I was really impressed that he was just a very smart, genuine good guy that was focused on restoring America’s greatness by starting with the simple, but often times absent, rule of saying what you will do and actually doing what you said you will do,” McClendon said. “I would definitely like to know more and get him for an interview. That said, I heard enough and saw with my own two eyes to know that America would be in good hands with Ted Cruz as president.”
Tea Party grassroots activist and military veteran Michael Campbell said that, “After the event, we were inspired and sleepless in Seattle.” Campbell wrote on Facebook that a “great sense of pride came over me to be able to serve my country again for #Cruz2016.”