The presidential campaign: Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz has arrived.
The Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate was first to announce his bid back in March, and has since been carefully laying the groundwork for a come-from-behind primary victory.
Money? Check. Backed by a coalition of four super-PACs and a campaign that’s raised more “hard money” than any other candidate, Cruz has a massive war chest funded by both eccentric billionaires, and small-dollar donors.
Ground game? Check. Cruz has chairmen spearheading outreach and organizing efforts in all of the 171 counties that make up the first four early states of the presidential nominating contest: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Strategy? Double check. Not only has Cruz handled the “season” of Trump with expert control, refusing to criticize the brash real estate mogul no matter what he says in hopes of inheriting his supporters and avoiding his wrath; Cruz has also invested heavily in selling his brand of “true conservatism” to voters in several southern states that make up the so-called SEC primary – a regional voting blitz set to take place on March 1. Following the CNN debate in Las Vegas this week, Cruz will tour seven of those March 1 Super Tuesday states, holding 12 rallies in 12 cities in one week.
Sensing a threat, Cruz’s rivals are now starting to circle him. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has criticized Cruz for being weak on national security and unclear on immigration. Trump, meanwhile, declared over the weekend he has “far better judgment” than Cruz and called him “a bit of a maniac.” Still, with a slew of key endorsements and new polls that show him leading in Iowa and closing in on Trump nationally, Cruz has solidified his standing as a co-frontrunner in the Republican race and a veritable force to be reckoned with in 2016.
These photographs were shot on assignment by photographer Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work “Political Theater” which examines the landscape of the American political system.