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Tea Party Star Ted Cruz to Speak at GOP National Convention

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published
Credit: NBC Latino

Texas U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz has been added to the list of speakers for the Republican National Convention. GOP officials have confirmed that the Tea Party star will have a key slot during the convention.

Ted Cruz, fresh off his runoff victory against initial favorite and establishment candidate David Dewhurst, is considered to have no real competition for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat in the general election. Texas is decidedly a red state and statewide races are viewed by most analysts as “no contests” for the GOP.

The runoff election for the GOP nomination was decided by which candidate had the most excitement behind their campaign. Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst had both the political and financial capital to runaway with the GOP nomination, but he didn’t have the level of excitement behind his campaign to drive supporters and potential supporters to the polls in a very poor voter turnout.

Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz has never held an elected office, but he had both the state and national Tea Party movements behind his campaign. He had major endorsements from influential conservatives like Sarah Palin (R-AK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and others. Ted Cruz also knows how to excite a voting base, and rouse a crowd.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Ted Cruz said that the Tea Party will back presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in November.

"Conservative grassroots and the Tea Party are going to be overwhelmingly behind Mitt Romney."

Mitt Romney hasn’t been able to produce the level of excitement Republican leaders know is important in a presidential election that many analysts speculate will be very close. The GOP needs an enthusiastic base to get out the vote for Mitt Romney, because that was something they lacked in 2008. They need voices that will rouse up grassroots activism.

Many conservative voters and far right activists are more motivated to vote against Barack Obama than they are excited to vote for a candidate they are reluctant to trust. Like many voters, independent conservatives often choose who they perceive as the lesser of two evils, which means they will vote against a candidate rather than vote for one.

When asked why people should vote for Mitt Romney, most Tea Party activists are more likely to list off reasons why Barack Obama should be defeated rather than list reasons why Romney should be the next President of the United States.

Ted Cruz is relatively young for an elected official in Washington, 41 years old, which would make him one of the youngest senators if he, indeed, wins in November. He can help the GOP gain voters from a variety of different demographics, including an ever growing Hispanic electorate. Cruz has become a major figure in an important voting bloc and can energize grassroots activists.

These are qualities senior officials in the Republican Party know they need to motivate voters in a highly contested presidential race and an important election cycle as the party seek to gain the majority in the Senate and keep their majority in the House. GOP leaders no doubt hope Cruz will inspire high energy enthusiasm at the Republican National Convention.

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