Ted Cruz electrifies Sarasota as he accepts ‘Statesman of Year’ award

If you thought a maverick, Dr. Seuss-reading, applecart-tossing lawmaker like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would get a lukewarm reception in the establishment, Gulf Coast community of Sarasota, you’d be wrong.

The Sarasota County Republican Party estimated its Thursday night event would attract several hundred attendees. Instead, almost 2,000 people signed up to attend the Cruz rally, where he was presented with the Sarasota GOP “Statesman of the Year” award, according to Breitbart News.

“We are shocked at the level of interest that we’ve received for doing this rally,” Sarasota GOP Chairman Joe Gruters told Breitbart News. “It’s obvious that the state is aware that he is listening, and they’re excited about what Ted Cruz is saying, and it certainly cuts across the bow of the establishment in D.C., which is maybe not trying to stifle what Sen. Cruz is saying, but certainly, that Cruz is getting so much attention at the local level in a county like Sarasota shows you that he’s a major player and that people should watch out for and everything that the guy is doing.”

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Breitbart reported:

Cruz opened his remarks here with one his signature phrases. “I spent all of last week in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “It is great to be back in America.”

Following what will now be a sizable rally at the Sarasota Hyatt – participants are already lining up “like Black Friday campers at Best Buy,” one organizer emailed – Cruz will attend a $500 per person VIP fundraiser and, to wrap up the evening, a $5,000 per couple private donor dinner.

The senator’s senior communications advisor, Amanda Carpenter tweeted o photo of Cruz wowing the crowd:


Another Twitter user posted this view of the crowd:


And here’s some tweets from Carpenter and other attendees about a few of the senator’s remarks:




“I like to say, ‘Sarasota is the new Iowa,’” Gruters told Breitbart. “If you want to be a serious presidential candidate, you better stop at Palm Beach and you better stop at Sarasota, because we have the donors and we have the base activists. My question to everybody is: ‘Go to a rally somewhere else and see how many people you get.”


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