Sen. Ted Cruz stood on a stage straddling the lanes of a dragway at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, speaking directly to blue-collar workers with “calluses on your hands” and railing against the political establishment — prompting cheers and stomps on the metal bleachers.
Meanwhile in Florida, a group of volunteers, including wealthy donors who supported Jeb Bush’s candidacy, were knocking on doors this weekend in Jacksonville asking voters to cast ballots for Cruz (R-Tex.) in Tuesday’s primary.
As Cruz hopes to land a knockout blow against Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida and narrow the primary to a two-man race between himself and Donald Trump, he is increasingly trying to appeal to two very different groups: working-class voters who may find themselves drawn to Trump, and voters from the traditional political establishment who want to stop him.
“For a lot of supporters I think it comes down to this sudden reality of a Donald Trump nomination,” said one of the Jacksonville door-knockers, Paul Dickerson, a Houston lawyer who supported Bush but is now backing Cruz, whom he considers a friend. Trump, he said, “would be a disaster of the country and embarrassment for the nation, and Ted is the best chance to defeat Donald Trump.”