The Ted Cruz campaign stop in Tulsa and Bartlesville in August produced overflow crowds that cheered the Texas Republican who is seeking the nomination for president in 2016.
It is a gigantic plus for Cruz that he has the wholehearted endorsement of U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, one of the most popular conservatives in the “reddest of the red states.”
Bridenstine praised Cruz for doing what he said he would do – including fighting to defund Obamacare.
Cruz is an outspoken Evangelical who made a point of stopping at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville – a hub of conservative Christianity.
Part of the popularity of Cruz in Oklahoma is due to 2008 GOP candidate Sen. John McCain and 2012 GOP candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney. Neither is as conservative as Cruz.
At least 17 candidates are vying for the GOP nod. The field has some genuine conservatives like Cruz, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin; Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorem; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Cruz and Bridenstine were careful to point out that Oklahoma is part of the Super Tuesday primary. Cruz said he needs to win the Sooner State.
Will the other conservatives campaign here? Will they be met with the same enthusiasm? Will any draw the endorsement of other prominent Oklahoma elected officials?
Most Oklahoma Republicans have probably not made up their minds on a single candidate. Some of the GOP candidates – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki and perhaps others – don’t have a realistic shot to win Oklahoma.
Cruz gained a lot of votes by coming here, standing next to Jim Bridenstine and saying what conservative Christians wanted to hear.