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Cruz To Huddle With Evangelicals in West Texas

Cruz To Huddle With Evangelicals in West Texas

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GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz heads to a ranch today in the West Texas town of Cisco to meet with about 300 pastors and faith leaders.

The Tribune's Patrick Svitek wrote last week that the meeting at the ranch owned by two of Cruz's most generous political donors underscores how important he seesunifying support of evangelical leaders behind his candidacy:

"The meeting is being organized at least in part by Keep the Promise PAC, one of four main super PACs supporting Cruz. Keep the Promise PAC is headed by David Barton, an influential Christian activist and author who formerly served as the vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. ... As they have thrown their support behind Cruz, conservative leaders have urged like-minded activists to follow their lead, hoping to avoid previous elections in which their support was diluted among a number of candidates."

Not everyone attending the Cisco summit is already in the Cruz camp. Svitek wrote thatSamuel Rodriguez, leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, heads to the gathering intending to ask how Cruz plans to broaden his appeal among Hispanics and African Americans.

"Engaging white evangelicals is nice and it's wonderful, but it doesn't get you across the goal line. It doesn't," Rodriguez said. "Ask Mitt Romney and ask John McCain. White evangelical support for the GOP does not equal occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy noted that area of West Texas is also listening to the message being sent by GOP candidate Donald Trump:

"The location is also strategic: Cisco and Eastland County are in a maverick-minded part of West Texas traditionally prone to support outsider candidates such as Trump. This time around, Trump has support, but 'this is pretty much a solid Cruz environment,' said Cisco Republican Zach Maxwell, a Cruz voter and a political adviser to local candidates. ... 'Trump is saying the things everybody is thinking to a tee. He says what the people want to hear, but the question is whether he’d actually act on it.'”