New Hampshire is well-known as one of the most secular states in the union. They are very liberal on social issues, and socialist candidate Bernie Sanders is polling about 15 points higher than socialist-lite candidate Hillary Clinton. Cruz is in a 4-way tie for second place right now with three moderate, establishment candidates: John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Cruz is trying to emphasize his libertarian credentials so that be broadens his appeal to a different class of voters.
The Washington Post explains how he’s doing it:
Less than two days before the polls opened, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was still working to land the libertarian-minded GOP presidential primary voters who were prodded into politics by Ron Paul and who are deeply unsure about what to do next. At Cruz’s first post-church stop of the day, in the western New Hampshire town of Peterborough, his audience included more than a few voters who planned to support Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and wanted to hear a specific pitch.
Cruz aimed right at them, elongating his standard riff about the risks a Democratic president would pose to the Supreme Court, and saying that his justices would end eminent-domain abuse.
“Many people here are familiar with the case of Kelo v. New London,” Cruz said. “Kelo was a disgrace.”
This was not the first time Cruz had attacked Kelo and eminent domain in a New Hampshire speech, but a debate moment that Cruz had no part of seemed to give him an opening. In rival Jeb Bush’s best moment from Saturday night, the former Florida governor tore into Donald Trump for his legal campaign to seize property from an elderly woman and use it to expand parking at one of his Atlantic City properties.
I blogged before about Donald Trump’s support for eminent domain, which was used to try to seize an elderly woman’s house so that Trump could put up a parking lot for his limousines.
Here was the exchange from the debate where Trump defended his support for eminent domain in the ABC News debate last Saturday night:
What a disastrous response from Trump – he got boo’d multiple times by the audience for it, and it rattled him.
Cruz is also a co-sponsor of Rand Paul’s legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, something that I would like to see done, as well. There’s too much meddling with the value of the dollar when the Federal Reserve prints money willy nilly.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that Cruz has had some success at winning over libertarians:
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has won over five state representatives who were part of Rand Paul’s New Hampshire leadership team.
Paul, who ended his campaign last week, had amassed a large coalition of liberty Republicans and conservative activists who are now migrating to other candidates ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
The six state lawmakers endorsing Cruz are: Rep. Max Abramson of Seabrook, Rep. Eric Eastman of Nashua, Rep. Harold French of Franklin, Rep. Larry Gagne of Manchester, and Rep. Mark McLean of Manchester.
This outreach foreshadows how Cruz would appeal to the American people as a whole, should he win the nomination. He wouldn’t have to become more liberal, he would just have to give the libertarians what they want in fiscal areas, and maybe in national security.
Cruz also has a solid ground game that may make a difference.
The Daily Caller reports:
Former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Bob Smith, a Cruz campaign ally, expressed full confidence about the campaign’s ground game overcoming present poll expectations.
[…]“We’ve been ID’ing voters who are leaners, people who are not sure, and we’ve been knocking on thousands and thousands of doors for literally months and I’ll tell you it feels good out there.”
Smith says it is a tradition in New Hampshire to be on the ground and meet people. “And that’s what Cruz has been doing now for several weeks. I’ve been on the bus with him all this week and a week or so a go, he was up for another five-day bus trip,” he said.
“He was meeting two three four hundred people one night. 1300 people at stop after stop after stop. So he’s met thousands of voters here one on one,” said Smith.
[…]Cruz surrogate Steve Lonegan, a New Jersey Republican activist, agreed with Smith telling TheDC Saturday night, “It’s over a 100 people right now. I think we have more than any other candidate. Our headquarter phones are going non-stop. We’re setting up 40 satellite offices in people’s homes and around the state for election day to get out the vote. So this campaign is superb about building a grassroots movement and so we will outperform people’s expectations.”
The Cruz campaign’s volunteers include college students who often stay at the dormitories of Chester College, a now-closed school.
“I came up this Friday but I was up a couple of weekends ago, so I’m going to stay here until the primary,” said Kareena, a 19-year old student at the University of Rhode Island.
Kareena, like many of the students working on the campaign, are phone banking and door knocking for the first time on a political campaign.
[…]“We go door to door, and we have walk books for different cities in New Hampshire, so it’s really great. It’s incredible. You don’t have to carry around a bunch of papers and clip boards. So it’s really convenient,” she said.
Fellow Cruz volunteer Mary Brown, an 18-year-old from the University of Tulsa, also enjoys door knocks.
“It’s fun to see the different areas of New Hampshire. It’s kind of like phone banking. You get a lot of different answers. It’s kind of really exciting when you see someone with a Ted Cruz sign or Ted Cruz sticker,” she says.
I guess we’ll know tomorrow at this time how well this appeal to libertarians, coupled with this volunteer-driven ground game, worked out for Cruz. I’m hoping for third place, but it’s going to be tough. Kasich, Rubio and Bush have a lot of momentum.