Heidi Cruz, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, on Thursday submitted the paperwork to get her husband on the ballot for the Texas primary, declaring he is doing "phenomenally well" in his home state but not resting on his laurels.
"You know, Ted was elected by 27 million Texans by a significant margin in this state not very long ago, and Ted will continue to play his ground game on strategy, on tactics, in this state just like every other state," Heidi Cruz said, referring to her husband's come-from-behind victory in the 2012 U.S. Senate race. "So we don't spend a lot of time looking at what other campaigns are doing."
Asked if any other candidate worried her in Texas, Heidi Cruz responded: "We're always worried. We're always working hard."
She also brushed off talk that the state is more critical to his campaign than others, suggesting he has a "strategy to go the distance" that does not hinge on a single nominating contest. Her remarks came the same day Cruz's campaign rolled out a leadership team in New Jersey, which is scheduled to vote June 7, and named a state chairman in Pennsylvania, which is set for an April 26 primary.
The event at the Texas GOP headquarters marked another chapter in an increasingly busy travel schedule for Heidi Cruz, a top executive at Goldman Sachs who is on leave to pitch in on the campaign. She has been ramping up her public appearances following months of working more behind the scenes on fundraising.
"As we were able to secure a good business model — and we're still raising money and making calls for endorsements — I've been able to get on the road a little bit, both with Ted and by myself," Heidi Cruz said of her growing role with the campaign. "So I've been spending a lot of time in the early states and the South and will continue to do that."
After leaving Austin, Heidi Cruz was set to visit West Texas to address a number of local Republican groups.
Before handing in the $5,000 check to qualify for the ballot, Heidi Cruz addressed a room packed with roughly 50 supporters, with more watching through the door from a second room. As she mingled with backers, Heidi Cruz echoed many of her husband's talking points, stressing the need for conservatives to turn out even in red states like Texas, where there are still many "latent Republicans" who have not been mobilized.
Heidi Cruz also encouraged backers to get involved with Cruz's "Texas Strike Force," a group of volunteers from the Lone Star State that the campaign plans to start sending to Iowa later this month. The strike force is being led by a number of prominent Cruz supporters in Texas, including state Sen. Konni Burton of Colleyville.
Among the strike force members is Chris Stringer, a student at Austin Community College who is heading to Des Moines for from Dec. 19-Jan. 13. Stringer said he joined the strike force because he believes Cruz "needs Iowa" and the opportunity lined up with his winter break.
"If I have a contribution to make to the campaign, then it would be in Iowa," Stringer said after chatting with Heidi Cruz. "The best that I can do to help his campaign would be going to Iowa because I won't have the time to volunteer anywhere else. I can vote for him here in Texas, but otherwise this is what I've got."
The Texas primary is set for March 1, an earlier-than-usual date that is giving the state more influence in the GOP nominating process. So far, four other GOP candidates have filed to place their names on the ballot: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and billionaire Donald Trump.