The Washington Post

What Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of John Cornyn should tell you

Friday night in New Hampshire, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made clear that he has no plans to endorse his Lone Star State colleague John Cornyn for re-election in 2014.

Ted Cruz.

“I think it is likely that I am going to stay out of incumbent primaries across the country, either supporting incumbents or opposing incumbents,” Cruz said.

That simple statement is remarkably telling when it comes to what Cruz sees in his political future.

Start with the fact that Cruz is a vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, an organization dedicated to re-electing incumbents as its first duty. Then consider that not only is Cornyn a fellow Texas Republican but also stayed studiously neutral in Cruz's 2012 primary fight against establishment favorite Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. And, finally, recall that Cornyn ranked as the second most conservative Republican in 2012, according to the National Journal vote ratings.

Add it all up and the common sense thing for Cruz to have told reporters when asked about Cornyn is: "John's a good man and a strong conservative and I am supporting him."

Cruz didn't do that. (Although his leadership PAC did donate to Cornyn.) And there's a reason why. Texan and former National Republican Campaign Committee operative Ken Spain hit the nail on the head in a Twitter conversation with former Senate aide Brian Walsh. Spain tweeted:

Correct. Cruz's unwillingness to endorse Cornyn is about one person: Cruz.  The freshman Senator has made clear during his brief time in the Senate that he has little interest in going along to get along or any desire to climb the leadership ladder.  In case you missed that point, Cruz's trip to Iowa last weekend and to New Hampshire this past Friday -- when he made the Cornyn comments -- are an obvious tell: Cruz wants to run for president in 2016.

And, in order to best position himself as a true outsider in that race -- a posture that has drawn him raucously positive receptions in his early presidential state tour thus far -- Cruz and his political people know that he has to stay away from endorsing any incumbents, especially ones like Cornyn who are members of the party leadership.

No one should be surprised that politicians are acting political. It's what they do, after all. But Cruz's non-endorsement of Cornyn tells you that the freshman senator's gaze is well beyond the Senate.


A U.S. official said there is "very little doubt" the Syrian government launched a chemical weapons attack against civilians.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed for U.S. action in Syria.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned on Friday. The U-T San Diego editorial board was not impressed with his remarks.

Republican Carl DeMaio is thinking about running to replace Filner. He lost to Filner in a competitive 2012 race and is currently challenging Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), a top target of Republicans.

President Obama said "law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years."

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said Martin Luther King Jr. asked him to tone down the speech he delivered at the March on Washington.

Lewis also challenged listeners to push back against the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. He was speaking at a Saturday event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Asked about comments from some Republicans about impeaching Obama, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said, "I reject that kind of talk."

Former secretary of state Colin Powell said the verdict in George Zimmerman's trial "will be seen as a questionable judgment on the part of the judicial system down there."

The New York Times editorial board endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York, and former MTA chairman Joseph Lhota in the GOP primary.

EMILY's List will endorse Michelle Nunn (D) in the Georgia Senate race.


"The Clintons launch a new campaign — for the foundation that bears their name" -- Philip Rucker and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post

"After six budget showdowns, big government is mostly unchanged" - David A. Farenthold, Washington Post

"Obama’s Syria problem takes center stage" -- Reid Epstein, Politico

"Cruz speaks volumes with his silence on Senate GOP colleagues’ primary races" -- Sean Sullivan, Washington Post

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debated Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Highlights from Saturday's GOP debate
Except for an eminent domain attack from Bush, Trump largely avoided strikes from other candidates.

Christie went after Rubio for never having been a chief executive and for relying on talking points.

Carson tried to answer a question on Obamacare by lamenting that he hadn't been asked an earlier question about North Korea.
The GOP debate in 3 minutes
Play Video
We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're booing me? I don't want their money!
Donald Trump, after the debate crowd at St. Anselm's College booed him for telling Jeb Bush to be "quiet."
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 38%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.