Two important headlines broke today that directly impact the 2016 elections.
The first is, of course, that Ted Cruz became the first real candidate to announce his presidential campaign.
The second one has been mostly overshadowed, but is extremely important nevertheless. Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy announced he is running for Senate in Florida, regardless of what Marco Rubio decides to do.
Let’s start with Cruz.
The most pressing question is, of course, whether he can run for president.
Looking forward, the odds of Cruz actually being the nominee are long, to say the least. As 538 points out, it’s rare for a Republican to have “united Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jennifer Rubin and Thomas Sowell in opposition.”
Look at the practical obstacles he faces: Jeb will have access to Cruz’s natural fundraising base in Texas thanks to W (who is actually making an appearance at a fundraiser there in the weeks to come). Perry is also in the running for Texas dollars, and they’ve been flowing to him for much longer than Cruz has been getting them.
Many Texans were actually offended that Cruz decided to announce his candidacy in Virginia as opposed to in the state he represents.
The next few weeks will be critical. Cruz is going to try to raise $1 million in the coming days (which of course, will pale in comparison to the amount Jeb will have at the end of this quarter). If he manages to do so, great. If not, he is most likely toast.
If the only declared candidate can’t make the most of temporarily being the sole candidate running, it’s hard to imagine there being any long-term viability.
Despite the media treatment that Cruz has received across the country, a Kurdish publication is strongly supportive of his candidacy, calling him a “Strong supporter of arming the Kurds.”
In his announcement itself, which was held at Liberty University, a small contingent of Rand Paul supporters got some prime seats in the audience. They apparently were a spontaneous group who decided to do this on their own since they weren’t happy that students were forced to attend the speech (but expect to see more trolling on Rand’s part down the road).
Cruz has a long way to go, but I don’t doubt that he’ll keep things interesting at the very least.
I want to take this second to say that Cruz has been phenomenal on Israel, which is one issue where I absolutely agree with him. For more on that, read here.
Rand is differentiating himself from Cruz by making the claim that he is ultimately the more electable candidate, although both hail from the same wing of the Party (that’s what Paul says, in any case).
Turning to Florida, which is, of course, the most electorally significant swing state, Congressman Murphy announced he will run for Senate.
Sure, this wasn’t much of a shock, but the race has already seen a decent amount of drama, with both Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Charlie Crist taking themselves out of the running on the Democratic side (although knowing Crist, he may very well switch parties a FOURTH time. For a fun article on his gubernatorial campaign, read on).
Until we know what Rubio decides, it’s tough to predict how Murphy’s decision will play out on a statewide level, but the odds are the Democrats won’t be able to hold his House seat.
Rubio has made it clear that he won’t seek both the Presidency and reelection, and the Republican field will certainly be extremely crowded if he does seek the presidency (which I would bet on at this point).
It was a big day in politics. We’ll see if it lives up to its expectations.