One national political reporter, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said that the news media have ambivalent feelings toward Cruz. “I strongly suspect the national news media rolls its collective eyes at some of his more aggressive claims,” the reporter said, referencing a recent interview wherein Cruz likened his views on climate change to Galileo’s confrontation with the consensus of his own time. “On the other hand, Cruz has mastered the art of the sound bite and presents his campaign in such a way that it’s interesting and fun to cover.”

A second reporter who covers politics in Texas said national media are also mindful of Cruz’s brief time in Congress, during which he angered many of his colleagues with a 2013 impasse over Obamacare that led to a brief furlough of non-essential government employees, which caused extreme consternation in Washington. (Though Paul’s role in the partial shutdown was less dramatic, he stands by his vote, joking in stump speeches that the most frequent question he receives from Kentucky constituents is, “Why did you open it back up?”)

“The national media seem to cover Cruz primarily through the prism of his time in Congress, which makes sense,” the Texas reporter said. “He’s made few friends in Washington — something he’ll happily tell you — and that shows in the coverage in D.C. While taking into account how polarizing his congressional tenure has been, Texas reporters also keep in mind his come-from-behind victory in the 2012 Senate race, which is probably informing the coverage of his presidential campaign here in Texas more than it is in D.C.”