Ted Cruz’s Senate colleagues tell him to stay the hell away from their reelection campaigns
Republican senators, already facing the possibility of a tough reelection in a year that will likely see Donald Trump heading up the ticket, have something else to fear — Ted Cruz’s support.
According to The Hill, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (NH), John McCain (AZ) and Pat Toomey (PA) are all facing tough reelection bids and have told Cruz thanks, but no thanks when it comes to endorsements and campaign help.
“Uh, no,” Ayotte explained when asked if she would seek Cruz’s help. “I don’t think I’d ask anyone to come up, generally, other than I had [Sens.] Joni Ernst (IA) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV) up.”
Ayotte added, “This is about me campaigning for New Hampshire. I’m going to be focusing on my campaign for me. It’s not a reflection on him, or anyone else…he hasn’t contacted me, but I’m sure there’s a lot of different races out there.”
According to interviews with associates of Cruz, he hopes to become more involved with the campaigns of his fellow lawmakers in the hopes of building up some goodwill — presumably with an eye on the 2020 presidential campaign.
Toomey, a Republican in a state that will likely vote Democratic heavily if voters stay home out of disgust with Trump, explained that he and Cruz have their differences.
“[Cruz is] not going to [be] into what my campaign is doing,” Toomey explained.
As for McCain, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2000 who lost to Barack Obama, he dismissed the Texas senator with a curt, “I’m not close to Sen. Cruz.”
According to Politico, aides to Cruz believe he can be a plus to fellow senators’ campaigns after coming up short in his presidential run.
“I think politicians are practical people,” said a senior aide to Cruz.”They’re going to be pretty interested in the kind of support he can give them…I think fewer people would say they don’t want him now.”
One senator, firmly ensconced in his seat since 1981, said he would welcome support from Cruz.
“I would say since he carried Iowa in the caucus, the answer to that would be ‘yes,’” said Sen. Chuck Grassley.