Ted Cruz Rides Momentum Into Iowa

Sen. Ted Cruz arrives in Iowa this weekend riding a wave of political momentum after clashing with GOP leaders in Washington over immigration legislation.

Cruz, a Republican from Texas, is emerging as a favorite of conservative activists, who every four years play an outsized role during the Iowa caucus, the first contest of the GOP presidential primary. 

He bolstered his reputation as a Tea Party rebel over the last two weeks by repeatedly meeting with House conservatives who forced GOP leaders to rework an emergency bill aimed at stopping unaccompanied minors from streaming across the Texas border.  

Anti-establishment conservatives in Iowa are applauding Cruz’s role.

Cruz this weekend will attend an event sponsored by local Republican powerbroker Bruce Rastetter, who has hosted other GOP presidential hopefuls such as Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, according to The Des Moines Register.

Recent polls by Fox News and CNN show the field of likely contenders for the GOP nomination is tightly packed, with Cruz coming within a few points of the frontrunners.

Cruz will make a return trip to Iowa the following weekend to attend the Family Leadership Summit in Ames. Other presidential hopefuls, including  Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Jindal are also scheduled to attend the conclave of social conservatives.

GOP strategists say the recent battle with party leaders over the border legislation will help Cruz distinguish himself from the field.

“Obviously this is a critical issue for Ted Cruz and a way to springboard to a larger agenda,” said Ford O’Connell, a strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign. “It certainly gives him a launching point and a second life after the shutdown to re-inject his name in the conversation.”

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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