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Blaze Exclusive Interview: Can Underdog Latino Conservative Gain Traction in Texas Race for U.S. Senate?


"A conservative candidate as good as it gets."

Ted Cruz is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, and right off the bat, it's clear he is a political triple threat: inspiring son-of-an-immigrant story, impressive legal credentials, and strong conservative values rooted in respect for the Constitution.

Many have already compared Cruz to Tea Party favorite Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Both are Cuban-Americans, lawyers and staunch conservatives.

But in addition to those similarities, Cruz is something of a jurisprudence phenom. A debate champion at Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, where he edited the Law Review and graduted magna cum laude before clerking for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

As Texas state solicitor general from 2003-2008, Cruz authored 80 briefs and presented oral arguments on 9 occasions before the U.S. Supreme Court.

As a result of Cruz's conservative track record, he has received endorsements from Freedomworks, The Club For Growth, and Senator Jim DeMint. He is the only Senate candidate in the country to have support of all three, and can also boast an official thumbs-up from Senators Paul, Toomey and Lee. Conservative luminary George Will has called him "a candidate as good as it gets."

Cruz thinks Republican senators need reinforcements on Capitol Hill, and up-and-coming conservatives like him are the cavalry.

An important theme of his candidacy is indeed the political fight ahead.

"Barack Obama has been the most radical president the U.S. has ever seen," Cruz told The Blaze, "so the question is, will the next U.S. Senator be a strong conservative, and a fighter?"

Cruz believes conservatives will have to be both principled and pugnacious to roll back the Obama agenda. His primary opponent to take over Kay Bailey Hutchinson's Senate seat is Lt. Governor Dewhurst, whom Cruz says is just not conservative enough.

On the other hand, Dewhurst has recently been polled with a commanding lead in the primary race. Dewurst also broke with Rick Perry in late September on the issue of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, in a move that could increase his appeal to conservatives. That coupled with his incumbent status and longstanding political relationships in Texas, make the lieutenant governor a formidable candidate for Cruz to defeat.

Cruz counters the prevailing wisdom that Dewhurst is a shoo-in by claiming that the mood of the country has changed.

"The American people are looking for fighters, for many years Dewhurst has prided himself on being a conciliator," Cruz said. He believes Dewhurst represents the establishment political machine, and points to elections in 2010 to show that conservatives with enthusiastic support of the tea party fare better than so-called moderates.

One thing is for sure, Cruz is certainly not a "conciliator." And he makes no effort to hide it. Whether that take-charge, full-bore approach is the correct approach is an issue the voters of Texas will decide next fall.

In the meantime, Cruz speaks plainly of what he feels is a failed Obama presidency.

"The election of Barack Obama was a much needed kick in the teeth to the Republican party," he said, "Obama has been the most radical president the U.S. have ever seen. He is moving us day-by-day to being closer to a European socialist nation, a path that leads to far less prosperity—that leads to bankruptcy."

Cruz believes there is a silver-lining to the Obama presidency, however, which is that it has awakened Republicans to the fragility of liberty. The expansion and overreach of the federal government has spawned a new generation of real conservatives who are ready to jump into the political trenches and fight for their beliefs.

"The Tea Party is the most exciting thing to happen in politics in decades," Cruz said,  "an organic movement of millions of Americans who are rising up to save our country." Cruz feels that the Tea Party represents a second great conservative awakening, following in the steps of the Reagan revolution.

On the issue that most dominates the minds of voters today-- jobs-- Cruz views Texas as a model  in many ways for other states. He thinks the economic decisions facing our country are basically a choice between the Texas and California ways of doing business. Texas has low taxes,  minimum regulations, and a climate that promotes entrepreneurship and the creation of  new jobs. California, on the other hand, is Democrat-dominated tax-and-spend disaster that can't pay its bills.

Cruz says he goes for the Texas model on job creation, all the way.

And as for religious freedom, Cruz points to what he feels is a long record of fighting in favor of  the Constitutional right to practice beliefs freely. He has spent decades opposing what he calls an "onslaught against religious liberty," and attempts by liberals to "prohibit the public acknowledgement of God." Most notably, Cruz successfully defended the constitutionality of a 10 commandments display in front of the Texas State Capitol in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The last thing Ted Cruz told the Blaze was that, as the son of an immigrant who fled brutal oppression in Cuba, liberty is a deeply personal issue for him. He said his father's flight from Castro's communist takeover "makes you realize just how fragile liberty is- it is not written in stone that we will remain the most free and prosperous country-- Americans must stand up and fight for it. My father fled Cuba, but he had a place to go-- the U.S."

Cruz then asked the question, "if we lose the U.S., where do we go?"

A good question, but from the evidence presented, it seems Ted Cruz would do everything in his power as a U.S. senator from Texas to keep us from having to answer it.

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