|Cruz is ramping up efforts in New Hampshire. | AP Photo|
“What Cruz benefits from this cycle is, the field is so fractured, there are so many serious candidates who are running, he appears to be establishing himself as a conservative alternative to Trump.” (emphasis mine)
He hasn’t been here in two months, his evangelical emphasis is out of step with this secular-minded state, and he's routinely overshadowed by Donald Trump.
Next up is a five-day bus tour beginning Sunday that will
hit every county in the state
But none of that is stopping Ted Cruz from making a final big push for New Hampshire, where he’s slowly gained ground since October and is poised to finish among the top three or four candidates.
Few in Republican New Hampshire circles expect him to win here, a state where Trump has a wide lead over everyone else in the crowded field. Yet there’s a sense that Cruz could capitalize on a splintered establishment GOP vote, and assemble a coalition of tea partiers, libertarians and social conservatives – enough to beat expectations in a state that has favored more ideologically moderate candidates at the presidential level.
“Cruz is not the type of candidate who naturally appeals to the state, he’s more of a tailor-made candidate for Iowa,” said Ryan Williams, a Jeb Bush backer and veteran of Mitt Romney’s campaigns with New Hampshire ties, nodding to Cruz’s outspoken social conservatism. “What Cruz benefits from this cycle is, the field is so fractured, there are so many serious candidates who are running, he appears to be establishing himself as a conservative alternative to Trump.”
That positioning offers a lane for Cruz to run in – while the hardline conservative wing doesn’t represent a majority in the state party, he doesn’t need to win a majority in such a crowded field to have a solid showing.
... “With the collapse of Carson, the underperformance of Rand Paul and the fact that Scott Walker got out, Cruz has got a pretty good path right now,” said Tom Rath, a veteran New Hampshire Republican who is backing John Kasich, one of the candidates who is competing hard here for the centrist vote. “He’s in the ideologically right lane, and I think right now he’s kind of got that to himself.” ...Read the full story HERE.
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