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Amid turnout concerns, Cruz steps up travel for Texas Republicans

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is set to appear at a trio of events next week in support of his goal of making sure conservatives don't sit out the November elections.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 24, 2016.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is stepping up his travel for state Republicans amid concerns about GOP turnout in November.

Cruz is set to attend a trio of events next week in North Texas aimed at getting out the vote, particularly among conservatives who have long made up his base. Cruz will appear with U.S. Rep. Roger Williams of Austin on Wednesday night in Burleson, followed by an event Thursday afternoon for the Dallas County GOP and another in the evening for the Denton County GOP with U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess of Lewisville. 

The string of appearances comes as Cruz increases his focus on one of his main political goals of late: ensuring that conservative turnout does not slip after a presidential race that left many such voters disillusioned. Cruz himself has grappled with the choice in November, declining to endorse his party's nominee, Donald Trump, until last month. 

Cruz's get-out-the-vote efforts began in earnest earlier this month, when he visited a phone bank for the Tarrant County Republican Party. Speaking with reporters at the party's headquarters in Fort Worth, he reiterated a worry about depressed turnout among "strong conservatives," particularly in large urban counties like Tarrant, Dallas and Harris.

"That could wreak real damage, particularly in down-ticket races — in state legislative races, in judicial races, in county races," Cruz said. "I don't want to see that happen, so I'm doing everything I can to encourage conservatives" to vote.

The events in North Texas are likely to benefit a number of down-ballot Republicans in competitive races. The area is home to at least two GOP state representatives — Rodney Anderson and Kenneth Sheets — fighting for re-election against Democratic challengers in an otherwise uneventful cycle for legislative contests. 

What remains to be seen is how involved Cruz will be in the only competitive congressional race this November in Texas, a rematch between Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, and Alpine Democrat Pete Gallego. Hurd has already received support from a number of national Republican figures, with House Speaker Paul Ryan planning to campaign for the freshman Monday in San Antonio.

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Politics 2016 elections Ted Cruz