Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was already on a plane and flying back to Texas Thursday afternoon when the Senate held its final confirmation vote for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, a Cruz campaign aide told TheBlaze.
As a result, Cruz was the only senator not to vote on Lynch's confirmation earlier in the day. The Senate approved Lynch, a candidate that Cruz has argued against for months now, in a 56-43 vote.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) missed the final vote on the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, and was on a plane back to Texas. Cruz was the only senator to miss the vote. Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Cruz aide declined to say why the senator was returning to his home state. However, a reporter from Real Clear Politics tweeted a picture of a flyer indicating that Cruz, a GOP presidential contender, had a campaign fundraiser to attend to Thursday night in Texas.
Here's why Cruz had to fly back to Texas before the final Lynch vote... pic.twitter.com/BCUt2cbkED— Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg) April 23, 2015
While Cruz missed the final vote, aides to Cruz stressed that Cruz was in the Senate for the key vote on whether to end debate on Lynch's nomination. The so-called "cloture vote" in the Senate is in fact the critical vote, since an agreement to end debate needs 60 votes, and once that happens, it's usually a cinch to find the 51 votes needed to confirm a nominee or pass a bill.
Cruz and most other Republicans voted against ending debate, but 20 Republicans voted with Democrats and allowed Lynch to get to a final vote.
Cruz spokeswoman Amanda Carpenter said the cloture vote was the "vote that mattered," and laid out her argument in a series of tweets soon after the vote:
If the Senate could get 60 votes for cloture, they could get 51 for final confirmation. Cloture is the only vote that mattered.— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) April 23, 2015
Lynch received 66 votes on the vote that mattered. http://t.co/W6Ne8mQVv8 If she can get to 66 she can get to 51— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) April 23, 2015