About a month ago, Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff made a request of some House-side colleagues: Would their bosses be willing to say nice things about the Texas Republican’s 2016 presidential bid? Or, even better, would they be willing to endorse him?
Paul Teller, that chief of staff who was once the executive director of the Republican Study Committee, must be feeling pretty good now. On Thursday, four House Republicans in the Texas delegation announced they would support the iconoclastic Cruz in the crowded GOP primary pool that includes other members of Congress.
Though all considered to be among the House GOP’s most conservative members, the newly minted Cruz supporters Reps. Louie Gohmert, John Ratcliffe, John Culberson and Michael C. Burgess represent a somewhat diverse Congressional coalition.
Gohmert isn’t such a surprise in coming out to back Cruz as one of the House’s most vocal opponents of his party’s more mainstream wing and a flamethrower in the spirit of the Lone Star State’s junior Senator.
Ratcliffe is a freshman who unseated longtime Rep. Ralph M. Hall in the Republican primary last year, a strong signal of dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Culberson and Burgess are perhaps more surprising. Both hold senior positions inside the House Republican Conference, Culberson as chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee and Burgess as both a member of the Rules Committee — also called the “Speaker’s Committee” since it makes the GOP appointments — and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
But the latter two lawmakers’ statements included in an official Cruz for President press release don’t suggest there’s a discrepancy between endorsing the senator and being allies of GOP leadership.
“We need someone in the White House who will respect the rule of law and the Constitution,” Culberson said. “There is no one more dedicated to restoring constitutional principles and protecting our individual liberties than Ted Cruz.”
Burgess said, “From Day One, I’ve known Ted to say what he means and do what he says. … Standing up to political elites and the special interests is hard enough, but when you’re one of only a handful, that not only shows leadership but great character.”
Ratcliffe called Cruz a “full-spectrum conservative.” Gohmert’s praise was particularly emphatic.
“With a Ted Cruz President, America will finally be respected around the world again as other nations will see a courageous and intellectual leader, NEVER wavering on principle, who stands by our allies leaving other countries afraid to be our enemy,” Gohmert said.
The news comes just after Sen. Rand Paul, also seeking the presidency, asked his colleagues to “Stand With Rand” as he commanded the Senate floor for more than 10 hours. Several House Republicans were offered as backers of the effort, including Reps. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
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