Sen. Ted Cruz has established himself in recent weeks as a legitimate contender for the Republican nomination. The Texas senator is winning in Iowa, gaining more traction in the polls nationally, and, in so doing, earning more time in the media limelight. But the most promising part of Cruz's rise is what's going on behind the scenes, where he's quietly raising huge amounts of money and garnering the support of key faith leaders.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Cruz raised nearly $20 million in the fourth quarter, which it notes is "a 66% increase over the previous three-month period." As Cruz has gained in the polls nationally, demonstrating that he is a solid challenger to frontrunner Donald Trump, donations have been flooding in.
Jeff Roe, Mr. Cruz’s campaign manager, said in a memo to staff and supporters that the campaign’s year end fundraising total would come to more than $45 million, up from the $26 million raised by the end of September.
The $20 million haul in the final three months of 2015 is up sharply from the $12.2 million raised in the third quarter, a bonanza that came as polls showed Mr. Cruz rising to a top-tier candidate from a back-of-the-pack contender in the crowded GOP candidate field.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that donation surge is that it comes from all over the country and hundreds of thousands of individual donors. In his announcement, Roe touts 300,000 donors giving from 66% of U.S zip codes.
As WSJ and others have noted, the Cruz campaign has better managed its funds than most of the competition, by the end of last quarter having more cash on hand than any other Republican candidate. After this quarter's fundraising boon, Cruz is even better off financially going into Iowa.
An important contingent of support for Cruz is the faith community, in which he has been consistently strong—and getting stronger. This week Cruz met with around 300 prominent faith leaders, representing a wide range of denominations. The Washington Post provides some details on the event, which it says participants deemed an "overwhelming success" and resulted in key endorsements:
Cruz allies said the two-day gathering, capping off with a rally where Cruz delivered his standard stump speech, followed by a performance from the Christian rock band The Newsboys, was an overwhelming success. By the end of the six-hour meeting Monday, dozens of the visitors lined up outside a closed room to tape video endorsements of the Cruz presidential bid. Some attended Super PAC and campaign fundraisers held Tuesday in Cisco that were timed to coincide with the fly-in. [...]
Those in attendance at the Monday sessions included prominent televangelists, such as John Hagee, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, and James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family organization. Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and a longtime leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, was there, according to interviews with attendees, most of whom were not authorized to discuss the off-the-record session. They said that there were a number of Hispanic and African American clerics in the audience, including Gonzalez and Voddie Baucham, a well-known pastor in Texas.
As The Daily Wire has reported, Cruz has continued to be extremely popular among conservative Christians, particularly for his passionate defense of religious freedom, strong pro-life stance, and the apparent genuineness of his faith.