Republican U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess of Lewisville, John Culberson of Houston, Louie Gohmert of Tyler and John Ratcliffe of Heath are all backing the state’s junior senator on Thursday, according to a Cruz campaign news release obtained by The Texas Tribune.
The quartet’s support of Cruz is not altogether surprising, as the representatives constitute four of the state’s most conservative U.S. House members.
Gohmert was part of the “Tortilla Coast Caucus,” a group that met with Cruz in a Capitol Hill restaurant basement during the government shutdown and is known to follow his lead on House floor votes.
Culberson previously announced his support for Cruz last month on his own. Ratcliffe defeated longtime U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall last spring, successfully challenging the GOP establishment. And Burgess is a vocal conservative, specifically on the 2010 health care overhaul law.
Gohmert had a specifically pointed statement in the batch of endorsements.
“With a Ted Cruz Presidency, America will finally be respected around the world again as other nations will see a courageous and intellectual leader, NEVER wavering on principle, who stands by our allies leaving other countries afraid to be our enemy,” he wrote.
The Texas GOP’s congressional delegation is known to wield its influence by sticking together as a voting bloc. But when it comes to presidential politics, the 25-person GOP House delegation is likely to splinter.
There are three other presidential contenders with direct ties to Texas who will be competing for congressional endorsements. Former Gov. Rick Perry is the state’s longest-serving executive. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush grew up in Texas.
A slew of other presidential contenders are making frequent Texas stops to court Texas donors.
But one Texas delegation member said earlier this year he will not be endorsing Cruz, or anyone else. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told the Tribune in January he has no intention of backing any contender in the GOP nomination fight.
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This article first appeared in Salon.
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