The Texas Republican senator’s strategic play for Christian conservatives comes into even sharper focus this weekend as he rolls out the first television ad of the 2016 race. Titled “Blessing,” the commercial is aimed directly at evangelical and social conservative voters in early voting states, timed for Easter weekend and slated to air during popular Christian-themed programming.
It’s an exercise in narrowcasting that telegraphs exactly how Cruz intends to win the GOP nomination against better-funded and better-known rivals. His advisers say the Liberty University backdrop, the TV ads and even his recent two-day tour of Iowa are all part of a detailed blueprint designed to tap into the power of two distinct GOP wings — evangelicals and the tea party movement.
With establishment voters breaking toward former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio,and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — and libertarian-oriented conservatives likely to go for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — the Cruz team believes the Texas Republican must flat-out win the tea party set and finish either first or second among Christian conservatives, a bloc that dominates the GOP base in Iowa and South Carolina.