“I think they’re both running. They probably don’t like me saying it,” said Texas Republican Party chairman Steve Munisteri, who noted that Texas’ March 1 presidential primary in 2016 should make it the first to vote among large states, and could leave only one Texan standing.
Both, meanwhile, would be competing at least to start for the same slice of the Republican base, the religious and social conservatives energized by an intense mistrust of President Barack Obama.
Some Texas donors are already bracing for the prospect. “I’d be splitting dollars, no question,” said George Strake, Jr., a former Texas secretary of state and Perry 2012 donor who also served as Houston finance chairman for Cruz’s Senate campaign. “It’s going to split up a lot of people who used to give to the same one, or who maybe even used to be friends.”
Perry is a monster fundraiser but relies heavily on Texas. Cruz has raised big bucks from a large national base that tends to give in small increments.