Ted Cruz, the first Republican to officially announce his candidacy for president, did so at the largest Christian university in the world, Liberty University. His choice to announce at this venue was a deliberate step to win the hearts and minds of Christian conservatives, a group that makes up a large percentage of voters and an important support base for the senator from Texas.
This strategy to get Christians on his side was reinforced through the release of his first TV advertisement, titled “Blessing.” The target audience for this clip is evangelical and social conservatives who live in states who will be first to vote in primaries. The commercial was timed to coincide with Easter weekend, and will run during popular programming with Christian themes.
Cruz’s campaign team believes he must grab the tea party voters to his side, as well as come in either first or second with Christian conservatives; otherwise the better funded and more established candidates will dominate the campaign.
“I don’t think he could have had a better strategy, all the way from his launch to his swing through Iowa,” said Bob Vander Plaats, an influential social conservative leader in Iowa. “He’s had a strong announcement, and he’s going to be a strong candidate.”