Three Tea Party senators are angling for the White House — and could be one another's greatest obstacles to winning the GOP nomination.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), three favorites of the conservative movement, have been quietly jostling for position over policy and stature within the party. Cruz has emerged as one of the foremost critics of the bipartisan immigration reform Rubio is pushing while Paul and Rubio have amassed strikingly similar voting records.
But Cruz’s emergence scrambles that duality, forcing Paul and Rubio to deal with him as well, rather than just choose to help each other when it’s convenient and disagree when it excites their base. “It was like NASCAR — Rand and Rubio were trying to draft behind each other and stay ahead of the pack, and Cruz used that time to raise his name ID with the base. The base just wants that pure candidate and you're going to have to convince them you're the guy,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “Three is a crowd in the Senate, particularly for what Rubio and Rand are trying to do.”