Throughout the primary season, Cruz has crisscrossed the South, sweet-talking voters unaccustomed to playing an outsized role in presidential contests. “He has made the largest investment in those Southern states of any candidate,” Mackowiak says. “Most of those political leaders in those states have never been asked to participate in the process.”
Texas is one of the “SEC primary” states, and it alone will award 155 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination. Cruz, of course, holds a natural advantage. His team spent over a year developing detailed knowledge of the state’s political contours just three years ago. Mackowiak says there’s a “very real possibility” that Cruz will be the overall delegate leader on March 2.
It’s not uncommon for “insurgent” candidates to take a number of early states, but they then typically have to rapidly raise the cash and build the big infrastructure needed to turn out voters across the country. Rick Santorum’s campaign was starved for money until he won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, after which it had trouble turning a sudden influx of cash into a viable campaign organization overnight. In 2008, in the months before the Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee had no national finance chairman or speechwriters, and he didn’t have enough money to commission any internal polls.
Cruz is a different sort of insurgent, who has from the first days of the 2016 primary made it clear that he won’t be outpaced financially.