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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Ted Cruz Ramps-Up Campaign In Montana

Ted Cruz Activates Campaign In Montana
Michael Vadon CC-BY-SA-4
Ted Cruz Activates Campaign In Montana

Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is activating his campaign in Montana two weeks before absentee ballots are sent out to voters.

Late last week, the Cruz campaign offered media groups in Montana a list of influential conservative and evangelical leaders pushing support for Cruz in the state’s June 7 primary election.

The list had people like David Limbaugh, brother of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, Tim Macy, chairman of Gun Owners of America, and president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins.

"Ted Cruz has been constant in his upholding religious freedom, American’s freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs," says Perkins. "He’s upheld family values, the right to life, the sanctity of marriage. And I think that is exactly what he will do as President of the United States.”

The Family Resource Council is a national organization promoting Christian values, including religious freedom, and resisting increased protections for homosexuals.

“Well I think that when you look at the choice as far as the values that I believe Montanans hold, I think that Ted Cruz is the candidate to support. He holds fast to those traditional American values and understands that government is not the solution,” Perkins said.

Faith, family and freedom are the traditional values that Perkins says most Americans subscribe to.

The Cruz campaign showing off endorsements like Perkins comes as the Texan senator tries to push Trump out of position to accept the GOP nomination.

Trump beat his Republican opponents last week, sweeping five state primaries.

Cruz has done well in primary elections in the Rocky Mountain states, so far. He’s picked up wins in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.

But in Montana, GOP state Chairman Jeff Essmann says a win for either Cruz or Republican front-runner Donald Trump is difficult to call.

“I think we are going to have a very competitive presidential primary in this state. I’ve encouraged all three of the remaining candidates, Mr. Trump, Mr. Cruz and Governor Kasich to visit Montana, meet Montana Republicans, as well as attend our delegate convention on May 14th.”

Essmann says the conservative leaders listed by the Cruz campaign are able to speak to some of the values held by Montana Republicans.

“Most of those names are associated with elements of the Montana Republican Party. I mean, any political party is a coalition.”

Essmann says some names were associated with parts of the fiscally conservative part of the Republican movement, while others were in line with more social conservative facets of the party.

“There are also libertarian elements of the Republican coalition, and I think a populous portion of the coalition, as well as a Main Street businessman element of the coalition. So, we’re a broad group.”

Essmann says Montana has unique political culture and the state’s Republican vote is still up for grabs.

None of the Republican presidential candidates have committed to speak at the Montana GOP convention this month.

A spokesperson for the Montana Democratic party said the people listed by the Cruz campaign to promote the candidate in Montana have no connection to Montana and "clearly don’t share our Main Street Montana values."

Montana Public Radio didn’t receive a response from attempts to contact the Donald Trump campaign. A Facebook page called "Donald Trump - Montana’s Choice for President" has been active since last October, posting mostly about Trump in the national media.

Montana’s primary election is June 7. Absentee ballots will be sent out next week.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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