Is Ted Cruz Texan Enough for Texas Republicans?

Hey, do y’all remember James Robison? No? Well, then let me have Mike Huckabee reintroduce him to you.

Despite Huckabee’s inclination toward a forgiving Christianity, Robison’s passion drew him in. He dropped out of seminary after one year to take a job as Robison’s director of communications.

“The way the Moral Majority movement was actually started was there was a rally that James Robison did in 1979 that I helped coördinate,” Huckabee said. “It was all because of the local television station in Dallas throwing him off the air, because, in a sermon that he preached on television, Robison said homosexuality is a sin. Think: 1979, it wasn’t really an outrageous statement. Anyway, they got some complaints and they told him he couldn’t be on television. Well, Texas? Are you kidding me?” More than ten thousand Christians came to a “Freedom Rally” at the Reunion Arena, in Dallas, to protest Robison’s expulsion. “There was this amazing energy coming up from these evangelical Christians,” Huckabee said. “I remember almost being frightened by it. If someone had gotten to the microphone and said, ‘Let’s go four blocks from here and take Channel 8 apart,’ that audience would’ve taken the last brick off the building.”

Did that refresh your recollection?

Good.

It looks like James Robison isn’t thrilled with Senator Ted Cruz’s performance in office because the vice president and executive producer of Robison’s television program “Life Today” is going to challenge Cruz in a primary.

Christian television executive Bruce Jacobson, who has discussed the possibility of taking on the Texas Republican in a primary, has a now live campaign website, brucefortexas.com, and Twitter handle, @brucefortexas…

[Jacobson] worked in the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan, and served as a deputy regional representative for the Department of Labor under President George H. W. Bush. He also served as a director of a Regional Emergency Management Team during the Bush administration.

I have a couple of other interesting tidbits to note.

A Fort Worth-based super PAC has been raising money to help a potential Jacobson campaign. The group, Texans for Texas, has raised about $25,000. It has paid the Pittsburgh-based firm Brabender Cox, which has ties to Rick Santorum.

The PAC has criticized Cruz for spending too much time out of state during his unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination last year.

I don’t know if that Texans for Texas thing is a jab at Cruz’s Cuban heritage or his Canadian birth because the alleged Zodiac Killer grew up in Texas from the age of four. What I do know is that almost all the money raised for Texans for Texas so far has come from a Baylor graduate named Terry Redmon who served as the Director of LIFE Outreach International from 1985 to 2001. LIFE Outreach International is part of Robison’s ministry and the producer of his television program.

The connection to Santorum may just be some kind of coincidence rather than a hangover from the two men’s competing presidential ambitions.

Anyway, I guess real Texans don’t think Cruz makes the cut.

The braintrust at fivethirtyeight seemed to think yesterday that Ted Cruz could be beaten in a general election but they didn’t even mention the possibility that he might be weakened up or even defeated in a primary. The consensus with them seemed to be that the Nevada and Arizona Senate seats are the easy pickings for the Democrats, and that Alabama is a toss-up.  They had a debate over whether Tennessee or Texas should be next on the list, with one side favoring Texas’s more favorable demographics and the other noting the advantages of incumbency and seeing the open seat in the Volunteer State as the more vulnerable of the two.

I’d be interested to see if their opinions are affected by the news that Cruz won’t get a free ride to the nomination. I also think the profile of the folks who will be opposing him is just as interesting as the fact that he will be opposed.  He’s getting taken on by the white charismatic evangelical right.

How will Cruz move to blunt their challenge?

And, to think, Cruz was the one incumbent Republican senator up for reelection that Steve Bannon promised not to challenge!

I imagine the Democratic frontrunner Beto O’Rourke is pretty happy about this news. Cruz won’t be able to pivot to the middle; he’ll use up a lot of resources trying to hold onto the “tear the last brick off the building” crowd, and he’ll make a lot of powerful Republicans angry just by defending himself and going after their guy who happens to be an authentic Texan.

 

 

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