DES MOINES, Iowa– With Cruz clinching victory in Iowa, he reminded the establishment and the media that they aren’t going to decide this election. He also prided himself on his record as a “consistent conservative,” and how this will be key to winning in November; he believes the Reagan Coalition is coming back. And this consistent conservatism was infectious with his supporters at his victory party last night. Additionally, while Iowa caucus-goers were present, there were supporters from out-of-state who arrived at the watch party to show their support.
In some people, it takes the form of extreme excitement. One woman behind me in the packed Ellwell Center on the State Fairgrounds had the energy exuded after drinking at least nine Red Bulls; another Cruz supporter next to her actually told her to calm down, though he commended her enthusiasm. But for most, it was exhibited in the form on indefatigable support for Cruz, his beliefs, and his agenda for the country should he win the Republican nomination and the subsequent general election.
Suzette Henriksen of Pleasant Hill #3 was pleased that her caucus meeting broke for Cruz. She showed me on her phone the results etched on a blackboard showing Cruz winning with 72 votes, followed by Trump (48), Rubio (34), and Carson (11).
“He’s conservative,” she said. “He’s not afraid to stand up to the establishment.” And his beliefs aligned with hers on a whole host of issues.
Jeff Ropp, another Cruz supporter, noted “when you hear him talk and his voting record; I like what I see.” Deb Harris, who was sitting next to Ropp agreed.
“I see someone even-keeled, who can get stuff done,” she said.
Hailing from Illinois, Dave Shragal and Cathy Ross had a business meeting in Des Moines during caucus day and being in the Cruz camp, decided to show up and watch the results. Moreover, they never experienced a caucus before and decided to stick around and see it in action.
“He’s [Cruz] independent. He’s independent of his own party. He’s his own man–and I think he’s willing to do right for the American people rather than what’s not necessarily what’s right for the political class,” he said. “People are kind of fed up with both parties, looking out for their own best interests and not the American people’s,” he added.
Ross said, “It was long overdue for a change.”
Shragal liked the fact that Cruz is trying to rein in government, and apply fiscal standards that most Americans have had to establish since the Obama presidency.
“I like the fact that he looks at downsizing government, or right-sizing it you might say. The same way every household has to manage within their budget; he wants to hold the government up to the same kind of standards,” he said. “I think that people can differ with him…he’s morally a good guy and wants to try and do the right thing.”
Rich and Sandy Selden said their caucus in Ankeny 7 went for Rubio, with 43 votes, while Trump and Cruz tied at 37. Yet, Sandy did not hold back on her feelings about the Donald.
“I hate Trump,” she said. When speaking of the 2016 GOP field, she said, “I would have liked anyone but Trump,” but she went with Cruz since he’s the candidate she likes the most; she’s supported him since April. She also appreciated that he’s a “staunch constitutionalist,” who doesn’t “cave to the pressures of Washington.” Also, his pro-life credentials are something she highly respects in Cruz. In short, the Texas senator embodies all the values she holds dear.
While she didn’t say that she’s against gay marriage per se, she was explicitly against how it’s been implemented in this country via the courts. It should be left to the states, and most importantly, the legislatures, which is how our Constitution was set up for our nation to move forward democratically.
Rich noted that “integrity matters,” and “saying what you mean and doing what you say” is key to winning over his support. He also noted that Trump’s special event on the night of the Fox News debate at Drake was “a Celebrity Apprentice event.” Both of them also noted that they didn’t see much of a ground game from the Trump campaign, but did mention that their meeting was over capacity, highlighting the record turnout this year.
Rebel Snodgrass agreed with the Sandy Selden’s constitutionalist stances saying of Cruz, that his votes align 88 percent of the time with how the Constitution is suppose to be interpreted. He caucused for Cruz at his precinct–Lincoln 2–in Indiaola, about 12 miles south of Des Moines, but added that he didn’t know who won since he and his wife, Julie, left the meeting in order to be able to make it to the party.
Julie said it was either Cruz or Rand Paul for her choices.
Catherine Frazier, Cruz’s national press secretary, noted the momentum Cruz has gained in the Hawkeye State, noting that they were trialing the Donald in the polls a couple of weeks ago and to be running neck-and-neck with him by caucus day was in itself an achievement. She added that the campaign has an incredible organization, which evidently paid off dividends with their win.
“Tonight shows that conservatives are coalescing around Cruz,” she said. Voters are “fed up with Washington,” and want someone who will stand up and not cuddle up to the establishment.”