Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, currently polling second among Republican primary candidates and rising fast with the assistance of high-profile endorsements, has found himself the subject of a minor controversy.
Political chatter emerged in October suggesting that Cruz, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, had not been entirely forthcoming about his family’s exile story from Cuba — embellishing and omitting portions.
But Cruz hasn’t been shy about his family’s history. His father, who immigrated from the island in 1957, fought for Fidel Castro’s band of revolutionaries, and was imprisoned and tortured by the pro-American Batista dictatorship that Castro overthrew.
Cruz has spoken about his father “throwing Molotov cocktails and blowing up buildings” during the Cuban Revolution.
His campaign maintains that he can’t be held accountable for failing to correct each of the frequent misstatements by others not affiliated with the campaign about his father’s story.
Cruz has recently climbed in the polls, with the help of endorsements from Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky, as well as organizations like FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. His resume includes time as Solicitor General of Texas, from 2003 to 2008.
“Why is Ted Cruz getting Rubio’d in Texas?” Cruz spokesman James Bernsen rhetorically asked in a statement provided to The Daily Caller.
Bernsen’s answer implies the involvement of Cruz’s most prominent opponent in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison — current front-runner and incumbent Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst.
“Ted’s story is the embodiment of the American Dream,” Bernsen said. “Some in the mainstream media fear the rise of strong conservative Hispanics, and, sadly, moderate establishment candidates like Lt. Gov. Dewhurst are willing to fuel those fires in an effort to avoid having to defend their own record.”
This episode hasn’t been the first bout of negativity between the two campaigns. In early October, Cruz’s campaign took offense to emails from the Dewhurst campaign that hinted that he was communist.
“Red Ted Cruz shows his true colors, consistently stands with China against American interests,” a member of Dewhurst’s campaign wrote, criticizing Cruz’s opposition to a bill targeting the valuation of Chinese currency by imposing tariffs.
On Monday, Cruz challenged Dewhurst to a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, hoping to capitalize off a forthcoming debate between presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in Texas.
“I know it’s tempting for a front-runner to try to hide from debates,” Cruz wrote to Dewhurst. “I hope you respect Texas voters enough to stand before them and answer their questions.”