U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is fueling speculation about a 2016 presidential run by hiring a national fundraising adviser and two other consultants with connections to early primary states, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday. Cruz’ office said the hires were made to handle the demand for the senator’s presence at events across the country.
The consultants will be paid through Cruz’s Senate re-election committee and his political action committee, the Examiner said. This means they will not be working in Cruz’s Senate office. Demand for Cruz nationally has soared since he won election in 2012, and he has appeared a number of times in Iowa, an important early voting state during the 2016 primary season. His popularity among tea-party voters has landed him on the list of prospective presidential candidates.
Jason Miller, a partner with Jamestown Associates, a political-consulting firm that has advised tea-party candidates, will serve as a digital and communications adviser to Cruz. Miller has worked in South Carolina, another early voting state in 2016. The political operative, who has advised U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will help Cruz “put together a more robust communications operation,” an adviser to the Texas senator told Politico.
Lauren Lofstrom, a national fundraiser who worked on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential bid, is also now on the Cruz payroll, the Examiner reported. She will handle attracting major donors to Cruz.
Another operative with ties to Perry, Axiom Strategies founder Jeff Roe, has signed a contract to advise Cruz’s operation on “organizational guidance,” the Examiner said. Roe worked on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign in 2008 and has experience in Iowa. He “has run 56 races in the first 11 presidential primary states,” according to his biography on Axiom’s website.
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Besides the hiring of the three consultants, there is also a rumor Chip Roy, Cruz’s chief of staff, will move from the senator’s office to his campaign operation. Staffers tried to downplay that speculation, Politico said.
Despite the three consultants’ ties to primary states, a Cruz adviser didn’t bring up 2016 while speaking about the hires with Politico. Cruz’s “leadership, his travel, the positions he’s taken; all of the above have created a real demand. We are making sure we are adding new resources,” the adviser said. “The only way to achieve change is to build a robust grass-roots army.”