Cruz, NRSC vice chair, takes swipe at NRSC

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is criticizing the National Republican Senatorial Committee, of which he serves as vice chair, saying he disagrees with their decision to support incumbents in primaries.

The NRSC is backing incumbent Republican Senators who are facing primary challenges in the 2014 cycle, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. Those primary challenges are being backed by the Senate Conservative Fund and the Madison Project, groups for whom Cruz has, in the past, raised money.

At a Playbook Breakfast with Politico’s Mike Allen on Thursday, Cruz was asked if he regretted taking the position of NRSC vice chair. He declined to say if he regretted it, but said he was not on board with the NRSC’s decision to back incumbents.

“I disagree with what the NRSC has done there,” he said.

“When I took on the role, leadership told me that they had learned the lesson from 2010 to stay out of primaries. Look, if you look at the NRSC’S history in primaries, it’s terrible. The NRSC endorsed Charlie Crist … and blackballed any consultant who worked with this young upstart named Marco Rubio. I think Washington insiders have a terrible record at picking winners and losers,” Cruz said.

On Wednesday, Politico reported that Cruz’s name was signed on a fundraising appeal made by the Madison Project, even through Cruz had previously said he would remove his image and signature from fundraising materials for groups targeting incumbents.

Cruz said he had signed the letter last April and did not know the group had planned to resend it, but would not say definitively that he would no longer help groups targeting incumbents.

“I have made no such ironclad promise. What I have said is that i’m likely going to stay out of incumbent Republican primaries,” Cruz said, but added: “I haven’t put that in concrete.”

Asked why, he said only: “Because things can change in politics.”

Asked for comment, NRSC communications director Brad Dayspring replied: “Senator Cruz is one of forty-five Senators that we are proud to support, defend, and build a majority for. We look forward to Senator Cruz being able to fight big government and the spread of liberalism in a conservative Republican Majority next year.”

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Alexis Levinson