Cruz and Rubio Counting on NH, Jewish Support
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Tuesday urged voters to put him over the top in the first-in-the-nation primary next week in New Hampshire, following a stunning victory in Iowa, the first contest of the 2016 race for president.
“What I so love about Iowa and New Hampshire is that in both states, voters take their responsibilities seriously,” Cruz told a full-capacity room at the Crossing Life Church in Windham, New Hampshire. “You understand that millions of Americans are counting on you to vet the candidates, to look us in the eye and determine who is telling the truth and who is blowing hot smoke.”
Cruz won the Republican Iowa caucuses with 28 percent of the vote compared with 24 percent for national front-runner Donald Trump. Florida Senator Marco Rubio came in a close third with 23 percent of the vote.
The outcome in New Hampshire’s primary next Tuesday will likely shape the race for president, on the Republican side, as both candidates hope to build on the momentum coming out from Iowa to win over voters in the Granite State.
The two junior Senators, while facing a challenge from the three governors in the race, are locked in a tight race for Jewish support, not to mention the countdown to the anticipated and coveted endorsement of Vegas casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson.
“The Jewish community played a key role in getting us to this point, and we look forward to seeing more leaders coalesce around our campaign in the days ahead,” Nick Muzin, a senior advisor to the Cruz campaign, told Jewish Insider. “We have an organization and team that is built to go the distance, we have more cash on hand than any other campaign, and we have proven that we can win. If you want to see a courageous, proven leader in the White House who will destroy ISIS, prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and stand unapologetically with Israel, now is the time to join our team.”
Rubio is likely to tout his electability as he seeks to close the deal and rally Bush donors among others behind his candidacy. According to entrance polls conducted before voters headed into the caucuses on Monday, Rubio won with 43 percent of voters who want a candidate to win in November. “I think people realize on the Republican side that we cannot afford, this country cannot afford, to lose this election and that I give the party the best chance not just to unify the conservative movement but to grow it, to take our message to people that don’t vote Republican now, grow our party, grow our movement and defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” Rubio said on Tuesday during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.
“Marco Rubio’s strong showing was not a fluke,” Michael Fragin, a Republican political consultant, opined in a conversation with Jewish Insider. “He won, at least, five counties, counties with the largest population. That means that they had a good strategy, and they executed and stayed below the Cruz trump cage match while doing it. If I am a Rubio supporter, I am pleased that the campaign was so focused.”
Rubio also got a boost on Tuesday as he received the endorsement of South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. “I am putting my confidence and my trust in Marco Rubio because I believe that he takes us to that better future. Marco Rubio understands that here in America, it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you are going,” Scott said in a video released Tuesday morning. “We have one shot in 2016 to beat Hillary Clinton, and that shot is Marco Rubio, and with him as our candidate we win.” The endorsement is surprising given Scott’s early alliance with Cruz in the Senate and his close ties with Muzin, who previously served as a policy adviser on Scott’s 2010 campaign and as his chief of staff.
Meanwhile, Trump, after 14 hours of recovery, complained in a series of tweets on Tuesday how the media “has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly.” According to Trump, he “brought in record voters and got second highest vote total in history.” He also grumbled about voters not giving him credit for self-funding his presidential campaign. “I will keep doing, but not worth it,” tweeted Trump.