In it, but not of it. TPM DC
While Cruz initially tried to play nice with Trump, he abandoned that strategy after he began his ascent in the polls which left him eclipsing Trump for a time in December. As Trump turned up the criticism of Cruz and questioned his eligibility to run for president, Cruz struck back.
Now, Cruz is staring down a map that may provide him with even more momentum. During his speech, Cruz called on voters in South Carolina, Nevada and Super Tuesday states to give him a chance as he heads into those states. According to the L.A. Times, Cruz plans to keep up his ground game operation–including the affectionally named 'camp Cruz' – as he barrels toward New Hampshire, South Carolina and Super Tuesday.
While New Hampshire may prove to be most difficult for the conservative senator who has found his message resonating best among evangelicals and social conservatives. Cruz is still in second place in the state, according to the most recent CNN/WMUR poll. Still, Trump has an 18-point lead there.
But many pundits expect Cruz to make up plenty of ground in South Carolina where the evangelical community has been coalescing around him.
While Cruz managed to lock up many important Iowa endorsements, the senator has struggled to win the endorsements of his Senate colleagues who have publicly and privately expressed doubt that Cruz has what it takes to bring the country together. Even as he managed to mobilize an impressive win in Iowa Monday night, news broke that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was planning to endorse Marco Rubio. But that skepticism from Capitol Hill may play into Cruz's anti-establishment street cred on the campaign trail.