I’m Ted Cruz, and I (Sort of) Approve This Candidate

HOUSTONMy Republican friends in Texas are greatly amused by the 2014 cycle’s dominating trend. Here is the splash page when you load the website of Katrina Pierson, who’s running in a primary against Rep. Pete Sessions.

Here’s the splash page for Ken Paxton, a state senator running for attorney general.

If you flip on the TV and you see an ad for Paxton, odds are it’s going to be this onejust 30 seconds of Cruz praising Paxton as a man who “stands and fights.”

And now the M. Night Shylamalan twist**Cruz has endorsed neither candidate. He has stayed neutral in almost every Texas primary election this year, outside of some court races. Pierson and Paxton are re-upping what Cruz said about them in other contexts, because the man is so damn popular with their bases.

The Paxton ad was new to me until last night, when I was talking over burgers with a Tea Party opponent to John Cornyn, Dwayne Stovall. He, too, was a Cruz fan. He was a friend of Rafael Cruz, the senator’s fatherthey’d shared the bills at Tea Party events. But getting a picture with the Cruzes for his own campaign? He considered that a bit gauche.

*Correction, Feb, 18, 2014: This post originally misstated that a 30-second campaign commercial was 20 minutes.

**I didn’t say it was a good twist. More like the twist in The Village.