Ted Cruz returns to Texas as a conquering hero

During the past week, Cruz has been greeted as a conquering hero, with a round of triumphal public appearances and welcome-home rallies such as the one that Alford attended Monday night in Houston, which was hastily arranged by the King Street Patriots tea party group. …

Just about every GOP candidate with aspirations to statewide office in 2014 seems to be styling himself or herself after Cruz. In tight formation, they are moving hard to the right and looking for the next big populist rallying cry — secession, rolling back the state’s liberal immigration laws, impeaching President Obama, amending the Constitution to end the direct election of U.S. senators.

His aura even extends to local races. “Some people call me the Ted Cruz of the city council,” boasted Helena Brown, who won her seat in Houston in 2011 and has proposed solving the city’s fiscal problems by defaulting on its pension obligations.

“Cruz was a once-in-a-generation kind of candidate. A lot of people are trying to re-create that magic,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. “Three or four years ago, the model you wanted to follow if you were a Texas politician was Rick Perry.” Perry, the Republican governor of Texas since 2000, has called the idea of shutting down the federal government to stop the health-care law “nonsensical.”