Cruz campaign, supporters prepared for tough Super Tuesday contests

Forrest Milburn

A standing ovation of more than 2,000 supporters greeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his wife Heidi in San Antonio on Monday afternoon, as his campaign prepares for a daunting set of contests today, when voters in 13 states will cast their ballots.

With stops in Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee, Cruz and some of his top campaign surrogates have traveled through many of the primarily Southern states that will vote today in the Super Tuesday primaries. However, Cruz was back in his home territory for the rally.

“God bless the great state of Texas,” Cruz said. “Heidi and I have been on the road crisscrossing the country nonstop, and it is great to be home.”

The crowd was full of supporters eager to jump up to their feet anytime Cruz distanced himself from frontrunner Donald Trump.

On immigration, one of the most impassioned issues throughout the primary, Cruz portrayed himself as a consistent supporter of border security legislation and attacked Trump’s past support and donations for Democrats.

“You don’t get to support open-border Democrats for 40 years and suddenly wake up and say, ‘Hey, I’m for securing the border,’” Cruz said.

State Sen. Donna Campbell (R- New Braunfels), former Gov. Rick Perry and current Gov. Greg Abbott, all Cruz’s major Texas campaign surrogates, spoke before Cruz.

Last Thursday, the day of the Republican presidential debate at the University of Houston, Abbott became the Cruz campaign’s most high-profile endorsement as a sitting governor.

“America is at a crossroads,” Abbott said Wednesday. “We need a president who will lead us down the right path.”

Cruz, Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are locked in a tight nomination contest, with Cruz only winning the early state of Iowa. Trump won in the other three early states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Many of Cruz’s supporters acknowledge recent polls have not been to kind to him, with ones over the weekend showing Trump has a lead in most states. The only exception for Cruz seems to be a 10-point margin in his favor here in Texas, the largest prize on Super Tuesday in terms of population.

“Texas is his home state, and we’ve been strong supporters of Cruz since before he was elected senator,” said government junior Madison Albrecht, member of Austin Millennials for Ted Cruz.

Although polls have shown a tight race, the crowd at Monday’s rally showed supporters willing to come out in full support today alongside many of their friends and family members.

“Don’t get me started on Ted Cruz — we’ll be here for a while,” said Jeanette Rhodes, board member and treasurer of The San Antonio Tea Party. “He’s going to win Texas, for sure. … We’re praying he is going to rise above all of them.”