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July 22, 2013 9:43 AM The Unity Candidate

By Ed Kilgore

After pointing to Ted Cruz’s first trip to Iowa over the weekend as a potentially exciting event for conservatives who like their rage neat, and noting he hit the ground howling on Friday, I wanted to report the reaction of Iowa GOPers as weighed by the influential Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz might only be in the first year of his first term in U.S. Senate, but he is already igniting the imaginations of Iowa Republicans who view him as strong presidential candidate in 2016 should he choose to run.
Cruz was in Des Moines on Friday to address the Iowa Renewal Project, an annual weekend gathering of Iowa pastors and religious leaders. Cruz also attended a picnic fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa, and met with Republican activists and operatives during his first foray into Iowa….
Cruz’s first trip to Iowa had many Republicans salivating, and by all accounts, there is no other way to describe his first trip to Iowa as anything but a huge success. What was remarkable about Cruz’s visit was his willingness and ability to interact with a wide array of Iowa Republicans, not just the pastors at the Iowa Renewal project and the 50 people who attended the Republican Party of Iowa luncheon.
Cruz held court in the lobby of the downtown Des Moines Marriott for nearly two hours….The lobby was chock-full of well-known Republicans.
[P]erhaps the most impressive thing about his first Iowa trip was his ability to get so many different operatives to assist him. The 2016 race won’t begin in earnest until the 2014 elections are in the books, but it is a rarity for so many different people to lend a helping hand to a single politician making his maiden voyage into the state. If anything, it might suggest that Cruz could be a unifying candidate should he choose to run for President in 2016.

Wow. Ted Cruz a “unifying candidate.” Republicans may disagree on some things (e.g., whether they actually desire or just want to credibly threaten a federal debt default, or whether once Obamacare is repealed Republicans should offer their own health reform package or just focus on killing Medicaid and voucherizing Medicare). Their are some serious internal differences on foreign policy. But they can all agree Ted Cruz is the bees knees. That tells you an awful lot about the GOP zeigeist.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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