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The Brief: Cruz Raises Profile on Home Turf of Rival Trump

Ted Cruz has been in New York the past couple of days, raising his profile ahead of next month’s presidential primary there that is gaining in importance given the unsettled state of the GOP nominating contest.

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz rally in Texas prior to the 2016 Texas primary.

The Big Conversation

Ted Cruz has been in New York the past couple of days, raising his profile ahead of next month’s presidential primary there that is gaining in importance given the unsettled state of the GOP nominating contest.

Cruz’s ability to gain traction in the Empire State has been met with some skepticism, especially given his use of “New York values” as an attack line against front-runner Donald Trump.

The New York Times’ reporting of Cruz’s appearances on Wednesday highlighted his criticism of Trump’s foreign policy acumen.

Ron Paul and Rand Paul both are informed and have a well-thought-out foreign policy position,” (Cruz) said, as the Times reported. “I disagree with many aspects of that position, but they actually know what they’re talking about.”

The Times’ Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman also wrote about Cruz's Manhattan appearance:

Mr. Cruz is considered an underdog in the New York primary, given Mr. Trump’s local ties and the perception that a message of conservative purity mixed with evangelical appeals might not resonate. Yet in the crowd, there were signals of his potential strength, including several voters who cheered his “New York values” remarks.

“He understands New York politics,” said John Cudney, 33, from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The Tribune’s Patrick Svitek focused on Cruz’s attempts “to find common cause with Empire State Republicans, noting Trump's donations to a who's who of liberal boogeymen in a pre-emptive strike on the billionaire's home turf.

"Y’all have seen firsthand the disasters that come from liberal Democratic policies that are foisted on the people of New York," Cruz said. "And yet Donald Trump over and over again has been supporting Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton and Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer and Charlie Rangel."

New York is one of the largest prizes left on the primary calendar with 95 delegates up for grabs on April 19. 

Trib Must Reads

Suburban Population Continues to Surge in Texas, by Alexa Ura and Lauren Flannery — Texas’ suburban population continues to surge, with growth in some suburban counties outpacing growth in the state’s biggest cities, new U.S. Census Bureau figures show.

GOP Leader Highlights Women in Congress to Texas Donors, by Abby Livingston — As efforts to increase the number of women in Congress has drawn more attention this year, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the U.S. House led female colleagues on a fundraising tour through Texas this month.

Hearing Probes Deportation of Criminal Immigrants, by Julián Aguilar — During an hours-long committee on border security and immigration Wednesday, a Republican sheriff was called out for doing what some argue only Democrats do: Let deportable immigrants out of jail.

Grand Jury Halts Paxton Land Sale Investigation, by Morgan Smith — A Collin County grand jury looking into a 2004 land sale tied to a business group involving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has decided to drop its investigation, a lawyer for the McKinney Republican said Wednesday.

U.S. Reps. Cuellar, Farenthold Target Provision Benefiting Cuban Immigrants, by Julián Aguilar — Two Texas congressmen have introduced legislation designed to roll back the automatic benefits and legal status that Cuban immigrants receive shortly after reaching U.S. ports.

Jeb Bush, Conservative Group Endorse Ted Cruz for President, by Abby Livingston — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz picked up two key endorsements Wednesday: one from ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and another from powerful conservative group Club for Growth.

The Day Ahead

•    The House Higher Education Committee and the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees Texas' budget for education will hold a joint meeting at 10 a.m. in the Capitol extension. Members will hear invited and public testimony and will discuss community college funding.


Supreme Court Appears Divided on Contraceptive Coverage, The Washington Post

Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry blames lax security for Belgium terror attacks, The Dallas Morning News 

GOP elites line up behind Ted Cruz, Politico

John Kasich Rejects a G.O.P. Call to Quit to Block Donald Trump, The New York Times

Mentally ill offender to stay in treatment program officials say he cannot understand, Houston Chronicle

Van de Putte gets high-profile role at Dem convention, San Antonio Express-News

Baylor announces more efforts to improve sexual assault prevention, response, Waco Tribune-Herald

Waco grand jury indicts 42 more bikers in Twin Peaks melee, Houston Chronicle

Special treatment for Cuban immigrants should end, Texas congressmen declare in new bill, The Dallas Morning News 

Woman laid off sues Texas attorney general’s office for discrimination, Austin American-Statesman 

Quote to Note

"As far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where Muslims are present, I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance, which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free. The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense.”

— President Barack Obama criticizing his potential presidential replacement, Ted Cruz, during a news conference in Argentina for suggesting that police should patrol Muslin neighborhoods following the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation with Reps. Craig Goldman, Stephanie Klick and Ramon Romero Jr. on March 29 at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth

•    The Price of Admission: A Conversation on the Top 10 Percent Rule on March 31 at Austin Community College Highland Campus

•    A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on April 13 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine

•    A Conversation on San Antonio & the Legislature: The Issues in the Interim on April 26 at the University of Texas at San Antonio

•    A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston

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