On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, speaking to an estimated 300 people inside a packed American Legion Hall in Manchester, Ted Cruz’s last pitch to voters boiled down to this: The other guys in the race might say they’re running as true conservatives, but he’s the only one with the track record to prove it.
“Nobody on that debate stage stands up and says, ‘Hi, I’m an establishment moderate squish, I stand for nothing,’” Cruz said, prompting laughs from the audience. “They run” pretending to be us.”
“By the way,” he added, “The only way to be elected, they said, is to pretend to be a conservative but let everyone know I don’t really believe this stuff and I’m going to abandon it the instant I get elected, which is why I’m never going to get elected.”
Cruz asked voters to look at his record as evidence that he hasn’t backed down from his conservative principles while in office.
As one example, Cruz noted that he managed to win the Iowa caucuses last week despite his opposition to subsidies for ethanol – a position that, he said, is as unpopular as opposing the New England Patriots in New Hampshire. (He was quick to clarify that he does not, however, oppose the hometown team.)
“On every issue, whatever your issues are – whether it’s life, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s religious liberty, whether it’s the 10th Amendment, whether it’s stopping Common Core, whether it’s privacy – don’t simply listen to the empty promises of politicians,” Cruz said. “Hold us accountable. And by the way, let me be very, very clear: Hold me accountable.”
Nodding to the importance of grassroots campaigning, Cruz thanked members of the 603 Alliance, a conservative group backing him in New Hampshire, for their work on his behalf. The organization opted to line up behind Cruz after he won an Iowa-style caucus they organized to determine their favorite candidate in the fall.
Even though plenty of people in the room were already on his side, Cruz also asked supporters to keep reaching out to others in the final hours before the primary.
“This race will be decided by the men and women right here,” Cruz told the room. “It will be decided friend to friend and neighbor to neighbor and pastor to pastor and New Hampshire person to New Hampshire person, one at a time.”