Sen. Ted Cruz is passing up one opportunity for a post-convention turn on the national stage. Cruz will not be at the RedState Gathering this weekend in Denver, a meeting of conservative activists he has attended every year since it began in 2009. Trump supporting Republican donors and Texas politicians so mad about Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump that they are pushing Rep. Michael McCaul to primary Cruz in 2018. So instead of attending RedState 2016 Cruz is shoring up his home state with a wee-long tour aimed at getting back in touch with constituents following a long and contentious presidential campaign.
McCaul, a six-term congressman from Austin who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, would be a formidable opponent. McCaul is very well-networked with the donor class, knows an awful lot of people and is very focused on preserving the Republican majorities in Congress and winning the White House. The Dallas Morning News reports that one of McCaul’s strengths is his large wallet — he is the second wealthiest member of Congress with a net worth of $107.61 million, so he could self-fund the campaign.
According to CNN, a primary challenge could roughen up Cruz:
Cruz’s team is actively preparing for what they expect to be a $20 million campaign, according to a senior adviser, including in a primary challenge. Aides in recent weeks have begun reorganizing the Cruz apparatus, with some returning to his official Senate office — such as Cruz campaign strategist David Polyansky, who began as chief of staff on Monday — and others joining the reelection effort.
Other Cruz operatives are building new political groups that the senator will launch later this year to build his political arsenal. The political nonprofit — to be named the Conservative Action Network — will have a series of state-based chapters around the country.
On the other hand, a primary might just hone the Cruz campaign into a more effective operation.