What Ted Cruz’s Own Texas GOP Colleague Has to Say About His 2016 Ambitions

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has some advice for his state’s junior senator and likely 2016 presidential contender, Ted Cruz.

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

If Republicans win the Senate majority, Cornyn said Cruz and others “have to realize that being in the minority is a different skill set than being in the majority and governing.”

Cornyn, the Senate minority whip who may be on the cusp of being majority whip, said Republicans must prove they can govern effectively.

“If we don’t meet the challenge, that’s the kiss of death for a Republican president in 2016,” Cornyn told the Austin American-Statesman editorial board Monday.

Asked whether Cruz is “going to get the message about temporizing expectations,” Cornyn said it’s going to be a “collective effort.”

“We’ve got a lot of people who have been elected to the Senate since the time when we were actually functioning as a governing body, so I think it’s going to be a collective effort,” he said. “Ted’s a very intelligent guy, a smart guy and a talented guy. And he and all of us have to realize that being in the minority is a different skill set than being in the majority and governing, so this is the challenge for us.”

“Some people have told me that the 2016 election is right around the corner and you are going to have a tough time dealing with people who are aspiring to run for president to cooperate with the majority,” Cornyn said. “The truth is if they don’t, then we’re not going to be able to do anything and we’ll be mired down in the same dysfunction we’re currently in.”

Cornyn is expected to easily defeat his Democratic opponent, Dr. David Alameel, in November, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in a tighter race with Democrat Allison Grimes in Kentucky. Should McConnell lose, Cornyn would be the likely party leader.

Sounding a somewhat moderate tone, Cornyn told the newspaper the GOP shouldn’t presume a mandate from a Senate majority, and that a new majority should not try to repeal Obamacare.

“The president’s going to be there for two more years no matter what happens Nov. 4, so I think the idea of some of hitting the redo button is not likely,” he said. “I can’t imagine him signing legislation that would basically redo the Affordable Care Act.”

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