Politics & Government

Ted Cruz packs Raleigh church, blasts Donald Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz arrives to speak to the media prior to his rally at Calvary Baptist Church Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C.
Sen. Ted Cruz arrives to speak to the media prior to his rally at Calvary Baptist Church Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Raleigh, N.C. jhknight@newsobserver.com

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz taped a Fox News interview with anchor Megyn Kelly at the start of his Raleigh rally Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds of people stood in line outside and weren’t able to get into the event at Calvary Baptist Church, which is south of Raleigh near Wake Tech Community College. The packed room erupted in cheers of “We want Ted” as the Texas senator took the stage.

Before the rally, Cruz spoke to reporters about several controversies involving Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Cruz criticized Trump for leading crowds at his rallies in a pledge to support him on primary oath, which he says is “like subjects to a king.”

“No political candidate is going to make America great again,” he said, referring to Trump’s campaign slogan. “The only power strong enough is we the people.”

He also said Trump’s recent criticisms of his religion show weakness. “When he goes down to attacking people’s faith, you can tell that Donald is worried,” he said. “Donald is upset.”

The Raleigh event was the first of several North Carolina stops for Cruz this week. Later Tuesday afternoon, Cruz was scheduled to hold a rally at another Baptist church in Kannapolis.

On Sunday, he’ll be at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord with conservative TV host Glenn Beck and actor Chuck Norris. That event will be sponsored by a pro-Cruz political action committee instead of the campaign itself.

Several recent polls show Cruz in second place among likely GOP primary voters in North Carolina – putting him ahead of Marco Rubio and John Kasich. Because the state will be using a proportional system for Republican convention delegates, Cruz could add to his delegate count even if Trump wins the state.

Cruz said North Carolina will play an important role in his campaign’s success. “North Carolina is tremendously important,” he said. “North Carolina is going to have a decisive impact on this primary.”

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