Cruz family, friends launch last-minute Iowa blitz

Republican Presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas talks to a reporter while standing with supporter Court Oviatt of Logan, Iowa, after a campaign speech at the public library in Onawa, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

 AMES, IOWA (MEDIA GENERAL) – As far as Ted Cruz supporters are concerned, their candidate is practically Superman.

Indecision is sparse while talk of the Texas senator’s steel spine and towering morals percolates through excited discussions at Iowa rallies.

Heidi Cruz courts undecided voter Diane at Ames, IA rally (Credit: Chance Seales)
Heidi Cruz courts undecided voter Diane at Ames, IA rally (Credit: Chance Seales)

The Cruz campaign hopes it can turn that excitement into numerical support, especially among evangelicals.

The 45-year-old freshman senator needs to best front-runner Donald Trump, whose current lead stands at 6% on average – a disappointing reversal of fortunes for Cruz, who led Iowa a few short weeks ago.

The Des Moines Register released its final poll Saturday evening, often regarded as the most accurate pre-caucus poll, putting Cruz behind Trump (23-28).

Cruz’s biggest supporters maintain that he can still pull off a win, and joined the last-minute weekend push to make it happen.

At the “Cruizin’ to Caucus” event in Ames on Saturday, it was all hands on deck.

Heidi Cruz, former Bush aide and the senator’s wife, stood in the Gateway Hotel lobby holding her young daughter and chatting up potential voters on Saturday.

“Iowans want to know that you not only say that you support your values, but that you’ve done it. And Ted is the only one of all of the candidates who has the proven track record of winning on these values well before running for office,” said the candidate’s spouse.

At one point during the speech, Mrs. Cruz, who’s on leave from her managing director role at Goldman Sachs, met an undecided caucus-goer named Diane standing in the foyer. Mrs. Cruz smiled and called out, “Take this lady up to the front, she’s undecided!”

Ted Cruz supporters grab yard signs after packed Ames, IA rally. (Credit: Chance Seales)
Ted Cruz supporters grab yard signs after packed Ames, IA rally. (Credit: Chance Seales)

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) also worked the crowd, going person to person to make his pitch for Cruz, hitting on his favorite topics, including standing up to Washington, constitutional purity and stronger immigration laws.

To fellow Iowans considering a vote for candidates like Ben Carson or Mike Huckabee, King suggested sending them a thank-you card instead of sinking Cruz’s chances in the two-man race.

“Don’t waste your vote if you want a constitutional conservative. Come to caucus for Ted Cruz. This Trump phenomenon is just way too erratic,” urged Rep.King.

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck, who recently called Trump a “pathological narcissistic sociopath,” was on hand to hype up the roaring crowd.

Beck dodged the media but did his best to sway voters, by way of handshakes and howdy-dos. One vendor gave the conservative talk show host a t-shirt and got a big hug in return.

Team Cruz’s efforts were rewarded with an overflowing crowd in Ames, which spilled out into waiting areas.

Attendees were somewhat wary of mainstream media, but were effusive when it came to Cruz.

“He’s a very good debater and speaker, and he’s a real man of integrity,” said one precinct captain named Paul.

Esther Walker settled on Cruz before the rally and raved about the “electric” feeling at the senator’s events.

Diane, the undecided voted courted earlier by Mrs. Cruz, left still feeling torn — a rarity in a group otherwise taken with the conservative Texan.

Iowans go to the caucuses on Monday. Until then, candidates are keeping break-neck schedules to win over every last undecided voter.

Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales

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