He said it. It was leaked. Now he’s denying it. Current Republican United States Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina supposedly told supporters in a private fundraising event if Ted Cruz became the GOP nominee for 2016, he would back Democratic contender Bernie Sanders.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the source of the Senator’s comments remains anonymous, and told the paper that Burr did not appear to be joking, and cited Cruz’s pariah like behavior in the Senate for the disapproval of Cruz.
Burr denied the comment, saying he would back the GOP nominee no matter who it was. The Associated Press said it will, however, stick to its story. Sanders not surprisingly has been attracting the support of conservative voters, especially in the red belt of Texas.
Even if the comment was tongue-in-cheek, it certainly highlights the already growing discontent for Senator Cruz within the Republican establishment.
Other prominent Republicans in Congress have expressed disapproval or skepticism regarding a Cruz 2016 campaign. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, said:
He’s a very rock-ribbed conservative and very intelligent young man, very knowledgeable, put it that way. And I haven’t seen any great desire on his part to really bring the party along with him so that’s something that worries me…I think it would help him a lot if he would learn how other people feel and work with other people a little bit better, and I think that naturally will occur.
Republican Representative Peter King of New York was less flattering, saying Cruz’s campaign would “definitely be a negative” to GOP efforts in 2016. King dismissed Cruz as a “fraud” and said, “I don’t know of anyone else in Washington, certainly, who gets this opposition from his own people…I’m talking about people as conservative as he is who just can’t stand him.”
Cruz’s shenanigans – shutting down the government, accusing Mitch McConnell of being a liar, and keeping the Senate past session – has infuriated many Republicans whose support he needs in order to beat Donald Trump, another unpopular figure within the GOP ranks.
The Republican Party is in a tug-of-war over their two frontrunners. A brokered convention may linger on the horizon, and if that happens, Democrats may be getting a few more Republican voters than they thought.
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