TYLER, Texas — Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi has plenty of things she could be doing with her time.
But the Harvard Business School graduate and former White House staffer says the urgency of this election cycle would have stirred her to act no matter what — regardless of who her husband is.
“I took a leave of absence from my career because I believe our country is in crisis and because I believe that doing something about that right now is the most important thing before us for our children,” Heidi Cruz told TheBlaze during a backstage interview in an industrial kitchen before an event at the University of Texas at Tyler Saturday.
The U.S. faces both a constitutional crisis and a foreign policy crisis, she said, which is why she stepped back from her job as the Southwest region head of investment management at Goldman Sachs in Houston to spend months on the campaign trail making the case for her husband.
“My entire job and role on this campaign is to support him, not because he’s my husband but because I believe he’s the best man for the job,” she said. “It happens to be that he is my husband, but if I did not know Ted Cruz, I would be trying to find a way to get on this campaign and support this campaign.”
February has been a grueling month for the Cruzes, starting strong with a caucus win in Iowa then moving into a string of second- and third-place finishes in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
But Super Tuesday is a homecoming for the family to the “great state of Texas,” as Ted Cruz likes to say.
“It’s great to be back home,” Heidi Cruz said, adding that she had recently gotten to sleep in her own bed for the first time in a while.
In recent debates, Republican front-runner and businessman Donald Trump has gone after Ted Cruz, particularly attacking him for being a “liar” and “dishonest.”
Heidi Cruz called that line of attack “absolutely inconsistent” with what she knows of her husband’s character. But she doesn’t let the attacks bother her too much.
“It’s not troubling us too much if we’re not participating in it,” she said. “Regardless of what people call him and say about him, people can look at what he’s done and see differently.”
Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio has grown harsher on the campaign trail in recent days, too, piling on Trump’s “liar” criticism of Ted Cruz. But Heidi Cruz said her husband is happy to let candidates like Rubio and Trump battle it out by calling names.
“When Ted stays above the fray — because he does not personally attack others, does not name-call, does not throw barbs, does not call people names in the Senate or in the campaign — we’re able to let the others squabble over little things,” she said. “And Ted maintains his position as a man of character an integrity by doing what voters elected him to do.”
The couple has two daughters: Catherine, 4, and Caroline, 7. Even when Ted Cruz is on the campaign trail, he puts the family first, Heidi Cruz said. He brought them flowers and chocolates on the day before Valentine’s Day, for example — just an hour before the South Carolina presidential debate.
“This is a person who has their priorities straight,” she said. “This is a person who is able to balance the personal things or home life with the responsibilities of running for president. This is a person who still goes online and pays our bills, even on the presidential trail.”
She won’t get ahead of herself, but Heidi Cruz’s passions include working to instill a sense of confidence and entrepreneurship in children, so she said she could see that and school choice as issues she’d like to focus on in the role of first lady.
But first, Ted Cruz has an uphill battle against Trump for the nomination. Trump swept the last three primaries and holds a hefty lead in many Super Tuesday states.
The Cruz campaign needs a win in Texas — which has 155 Republican delegates — to keep the race close.
But Heidi Cruz said the campaign is well-positioned with grassroots support and donations to go the distance. And she should know: A chunk of those donations she secured herself by working the phones and asking for money, something she’s done professionally for years.
“While Super Tuesday is important and the home state of Texas does have a lot of delegate votes, our campaign is in no way dependent on one state — not even just Texas,” she said. “So I want to encourage the voters to come out for Ted, because Ted has come out for you.”
Heidi Cruz predicted a “very strong” showing for Ted Cruz on Super Tuesday — and not just in Texas.
Like she said before, “This campaign is not dependent on any one state.”
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