PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — Some politicians run from polarizing endorsements. Ted Cruz seeks them out.
The Texas senator’s strength in the 2016 Republican presidential primary is drawn, at least in part, from the backing of high-profile figures from his party’s far-right fringe. They are people, like his national co-chairman Iowa Rep. Steve King, who may be popular among the passionate conservatives who usually decide primary contests, but could turn off the swing voters and independents who typically decide general elections.
King is a leading voice on immigration, having compared those who cross the border illegally to drug mules and livestock. Cruz has also embraced endorsements from an evangelical leader who described Hitler as a hunter of Jews sent by God, and B-list entertainers like Phil Robertson, the anti-gay patriarch of the Louisiana duck hunting family featured on the popular cable show “Duck Dynasty.”
“When a fellow like me looks at the landscape and sees the depravity, the perversion — redefining marriage and telling us that marriage is not between a man and a woman? Come on Iowa!” Robertson told an adoring crowd in Iowa City, Iowa, the day before last Monday’s caucuses. Many in the crowd blew duck hunting whistles as a sign of support.
“How about Phil Robertson. What an extraordinary human being,” Cruz declared when taking the stage.