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Why Having Kennedy on the Poll in Texas Might Fear Ted Cruz

Why Having Kennedy on the Ballot in Texas May Worry Ted Cruz

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the impartial presidential candidate, is on observe to submit sufficient signatures to get on the poll in Texas, doubtlessly setting the stage for a three-way contest within the nation’s second most populous state.

Whereas Mr. Kennedy is unlikely to win the Republican-dominated state, his addition to the presidential race in Texas may have an unintended and sudden consequence: lending a hand to the Democratic challenger looking for to unseat Senator Ted Cruz.

For weeks, the Cruz marketing campaign has been privately expressing concern, seeing Mr. Kennedy as maybe the most important wild card in a race that Mr. Cruz had hoped to comfortably win. Texas has favored Mr. Trump within the final two elections, profitable about 52 p.c of the state’s vote in 2020.

However a three-way race in November may upset that stability by bringing extra voters to the polls who dislike each Mr. Trump and President Biden. Extra of these voters seem to additionally dislike Mr. Cruz, a two-term incumbent with practically common identify recognition in Texas.

A recent poll discovered that Mr. Kennedy’s supporters favored the Democrat, Consultant Colin Allred, over Mr. Cruz within the race for the U.S. Senate by a big margin.

“The race the place Kennedy is most consequential is the Senate race,” mentioned Mark P. Jones, a Rice College political science professor who labored on the ballot for the Texas Hispanic Coverage Basis. “Kennedy goes to mobilize individuals who would in any other case keep residence, and people Kennedy voters are going to be extra more likely to help Allred than Cruz.”

The Kennedy marketing campaign has been gathering signatures for weeks to get onto the poll in Texas, which has among the many most troublesome necessities of any state. The state requires impartial candidates to submit a petition with not less than 113,151 signatures from registered voters who didn’t vote in a presidential major.

Mr. Kennedy has already far surpassed that quantity, although not all of the signatures have but been verified by the marketing campaign. “We have now collected greater than 200,000 signatures,” Stefanie Spear, the press secretary for the Kennedy marketing campaign, mentioned.

Ms. Spear added that the marketing campaign was working to confirm the signatures and acquire new ones, with a aim of submitting greater than 180,000 signatures to the Texas secretary of state with a view to survive any potential authorized challenges. She declined to touch upon the Senate race.

The deadline for submitting the signatures is Monday. Mr. Kennedy was scheduled to seem at a rally in Austin that night time.

Mr. Kennedy is attempting to get on the poll in every statehowever he has succeeded up to now in just a few, together with Michigan. Whereas polls counsel that he would draw voters from each Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, his efforts to get on the poll have been resisted most actively by the Democratic Occasion, which has been involved that his candidacy may endanger President Biden’s re-election.

Given the political dynamics in Texas, which Mr. Trump is more likely to win, it was not but clear whether or not a problem to Mr. Kennedy’s signatures would come from Republican or Democratic officers.

In a two-way race, Mr. Cruz has led in each ballot up to now, although most polls haven’t seemed on the impression of Mr. Kennedy.

Within the Texas Hispanic Coverage Basis survey, about 45 p.c of Mr. Kennedy’s supporters mentioned that they supported Mr. Allred, a former N.F.L. linebacker from the Dallas space who was elected to Congress in 2018, versus round 30 p.c for Mr. Cruz.

A Democrat has not received statewide in Texas since 1994.

“I’m not likely supportive of Ted Cruz. I’ve by no means been supportive of Ted Cruz,” mentioned Michael Havens, 71, a former police officer and retired household therapist who was out accumulating signatures for Mr. Kennedy at a park in Houston final month.

“And but I’m additionally indignant on the Democrats as a result of they’ve screwed so many issues up,” he added. “I don’t know who he’s going to drag extra votes from. I simply determined I don’t care. I’m right here to vary the system.”

Matt Angle of the Lone Star Venture, which helps Democrats in Texas, mentioned that having Mr. Kennedy within the race wouldn’t damage Mr. Allred and will even assist him. “We’re an extended approach to go,” he cautioned. “However each little bit issues, and that might be a really shut race.”

Each Senate candidates have been aiming to win over reasonable voters, competing to current themselves as the higher bipartisan politician.

In an interview at his marketing campaign headquarters, Mr. Cruz emphasised his work with Democrats on laws associated to Texas, together with worldwide bridge initiatives over the Rio Grande, interstate highways and NASA funding. He downplayed his picture as a firebrand conservative.

“My mannequin was all the time Ronald Reagan. I aspire to be a cheerful warrior,” he mentioned.

In contrast to in 2018, when he narrowly defeated a Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, Mr. Cruz mentioned that he and his marketing campaign this time round have tried to keep away from “complacency” amongst Republicans of the kind that just about sunk his re-election that yr.

“Given how shut the race was final time, it’s rather a lot simpler for individuals to know, hey, we’ve bought an actual combat right here,” Mr. Cruz mentioned.

The Allred marketing campaign, trying to court docket Republicans and ladies within the main Texas suburbs, has highlighted points, like entry to abortion, which were politically profitable in different Republican-controlled states. The marketing campaign additionally pointed to Mr. Allred’s function in bipartisan laws associated to well being look after veterans and infrastructure.

“What’s occurring in Texas is actually — it’s a tragedy,” Mr. Allred mentioned throughout an look on “The Daily Show,” whereas discussing the impact of Texas’s abortion ban on pregnant ladies with medical problems. “That doesn’t sound like freedom to me.”

A spokesman for Mr. Allred declined to touch upon how Mr. Kennedy would possibly have an effect on the Senate race.

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