When Texas Sen. Ted Cruz comes to New Hampshire for two separate appearances in April, don’t be surprised if Sen. Kelly Ayotte has scheduling conflicts that prevent her from appearing with her Republican colleague from Texas.
Cruz has made waves since arriving in the Senate just 14 months ago. His 21-hour filibuster last September failed in its stated purpose of blocking funding for Obamacare but succeeded in making Cruz a national figure with millions of conservative fans.
Now Cruz is scheduled to visit New Hampshire twice in April, once at the “Freedom Summit” organized by Americans For Prosperity and again two weeks later to keynote the Carroll County Republican Lincoln Day dinner. Both appearances are sure to attract big crowds and national media. Buzz about a potential Cruz presidential campaign is going to get louder.
When Cruz last visited the Granite State to headline a fundraiser for the state Republican Party in Dublin last August, Ayotte was there to introduce him. But that was before the filibuster theatrics that in the end did nothing to prevent Obamacare funding but did result in the GOP getting blamed for the ensuing government shutdown.
Days after the filibuster, Ayotte rebuked Cruz at a private luncheon with other Republican senators. She specifically called on Cruz to repudiate an attack on Ayotte and other Republicans by the Senate Conservatives Fund, allied with Cruz, which portrayed Ayotte as somehow soft on Obamacare. Cruz refused.
This month, Cruz forced a handful of his Republican colleagues to vote to allow a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Like with Cruz’s September filibuster, the procedural move did nothing to change the final outcome. The debt ceiling was raised, with every Republican senator voting no.
Cruz does not appear to be settling in for a long career in the Senate. He shows no interest in building the kinds of relationships or coalitions needed to pass legislation that advances causes important to him or his fellow conservatives. This may endear him to conservative audiences in the short run, but it also permanently poisons Cruz’s relationships with his Republican colleagues.
Perhaps Cruz will explain his strategy — if he has one — when he’s in New Hampshire this Spring. But we doubt he’ll have the chance to do it face-to-face with Sen. Ayotte.