The Brief: Top Texas News for May 2, 2013

Ted Cruz supporters at his election night watch party in Houston on July 31, 2012.
Ted Cruz supporters at his election night watch party in Houston on July 31, 2012.

The Big Conversation

Another churn of the rumor mill has sent speculation about Ted Cruz's political ambitions into overdrive.

National Review's Robert Costa sparked a new round of Cruz-for-president buzz on Wednesday with a report claiming that friends and allies of the first-term U.S. senator say he's considering a White House bid.

"If you don’t think this is real, then you’re not paying attention," the story quotes a "Republican insider" saying. "Cruz already has grassroots on his side, and in this climate, that’s all he may need."

Costa writes that Cruz — whose brash style has generated headlines nearly every week since he arrived in Washington — has energized conservative activists in early-primary states, some of whom view him as a Barry Goldwater-type figure.

"You bet he’s on my radar," said Chad Connelly, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. "Conservatives think he’s a rock star. I hear about him from everybody."

Cruz later responded to the chatter in a Facebook post, writing that he was focused on "fighting for conservative principles in the Senate, and working to help elect strong conservatives to win a majority in the Senate in 2014."

He added, "It is a continued source of amazement that the simple fact that I am working hard with like-minded Senators to keep my promise is seen as newsworthy and cause for wild speculation."

Cruz echoed that message — but neither confirmed nor denied the rumors — at an appearance in San Antonio on Wednesday, saying, "I try not to pay attention to what's said in the press. ... I've spent four months in office and my focus is like a laser on the U.S. Senate."

Inevitably, the buzz also revived discussions of Cruz's eligibility to run, given that he was born in Canada. But as the National Review story reports, the senator and his advisers are prepared for any such legal fight.

Culled

•    Immigration looms large as Obama visits Mexico (The Dallas Morning News): "When President Barack Obama arrives here Thursday to meet with his counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, no issue will resonate more with Mexicans on both sides of the border than immigration. Obama’s game plan during his 24-hour visit is to help present a balanced picture of Mexico, shifting emphasis from the blood-soaked narrative of drug wars to one of economic promise, a theme that has gotten more complicated since Mexico’s announcement this week that it will limit U.S. security agencies’ access to their Mexican counterparts."

•    Rogue Republican might have had a hand in killing water bill (Austin American-Statesman): "The leader of the Texas House’s Republican caucus blamed Democrats for sinking legislation Monday night that would have paid for a state water infrastructure fund. But a rogue member of the GOP might have had a hand in taking down the water bill."

•    Immigration Resolution Now Criticizes "Amnesty" (The Texas Tribune): "Months after it was first drafted, a resolution that seeks to inform the U.S. Congress that Texas supports efforts to overhaul the country’s broken immigration system has been changed to gain support from Texas Republicans."

•    Bush fundraiser: Grandparents host for grandson; Jeb attends (CNN): "Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara are giving their grandson's political ambitions a big boost by hosting a Wednesday evening fundraiser for George P. Bush, who is running as a Republican for the post of Texas Land Commissioner, CNN has learned. The event, to be held at the former president's home in Houston, is also featuring former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, George P.'s father, according to a source with knowledge of it."

Quote of the Day: "Ted won’t be opening an Iowa office anytime soon, but he’s listening. This is all in the early stages; nothing is official. It’s just building on its own." — An unnamed longtime Ted Cruz ally, quoted in National Review

Must-Read

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