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Cruz Urges Runoff Candidates to Avoid Personal Attacks

At a news conference Friday in Austin, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz touched on the state’s bitter Republican primary runoffs and Gov. Rick Perry’s efforts to tout the Texas miracle around the country.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz banters with reporters after a short press avail at the Stephen F. Austin hotel on May 16, 2014.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with comment from a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry's office.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz touched on the state’s upcoming Republican primary runoffs and Gov. Rick Perry’s efforts to tout the Texas miracle Friday during a news conference in Austin.

Cruz met with reporters before attending a Joint ROTC Commissioning Ceremony held at the University of Texas at Austin.

Asked about the increasingly bitter runoff between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, in which Patrick’s history of treatment for mental health issues was leaked to reporters, Cruz said he was staying out of the race, but he encouraged all candidates to keep their campaigns positive and focused on the issues.

“If your policy record is different, that’s fair game,” Cruz said. “But I would encourage every candidate running for office: Don’t traffic in the business of personal destruction.”

Cruz said he was encouraged by the recent results of the Texas primaries, in which Tea Party-backed challengers performed well against several incumbent Republicans.

“What I’m encouraged by, in the vast round of primaries in Texas, we saw voters over and over again saying they wanted to elect people who are going to listen to people, who are not going to become captive to the lobbyists and entrenched special interests,” Cruz said. “Both sides and both parties fall victim to this.”

When asked about Gov. Rick Perry’s efforts to promote the state’s economic prowess around the country, Cruz offered a mixed assessment of his potential rival for the 2016 presidential nomination.

“I like our governor very much,” Cruz said. “I think he’s been a strong, effective governor. But let me tell you something: There ain’t a politician in this country who’s responsible for the economic growth. The economic growth has come from the private sector.

“Nothing drives me crazier than politicians who run around talking about the jobs they created,” Cruz added. “Politicians are very good at killing jobs, but they don’t create jobs.”

Felix Browne, a spokesman with Perry's office, said Perry's "job creation policies" helped drive the state's economic performance.

"As Governor Perry has long said, government doesn’t create jobs, but it can create an environment that spurs job growth," Browne said. "Washington may want to look to Texas for a job creation plan that works."

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