When addressing evangelical Christians, whether it be in a small group, or an enormous arena, Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) knows his audience.
During a campaign stop Thursday near Albany, New York, the senator engaged another key voting bloc in his multifaceted approach to chipping away as many of the Empire State's 95 delegates as possible. GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who is a lifelong resident of New York, is currently leading with a little more than 50 percent support in the polls.
Cruz visited Mekeel Christian Academy in Scotia, a suburb of New York's capital city, and immediately shifted into his usual 30-minute stump speech filled with all the things he's said to evangelical voters in state after state along the 2016 presidential campaign trail. It kicked off with the obligatory "God bless the Great State of New York."
And, as usual, it connected with the roughly 1,300 committed Christian voters in attendance.
"I will not compromise away your religious liberties, and I will not compromise away your Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms," he said. "We will protect your constitutional right to live according to your faith and your conscience without government getting in the way."
He also warned the U.S. is "one liberal Justice away from a radical, leftist Supreme Court."
New York is among the most unionized states in the country, and while the Cruz speech focused on guaranteed applause lines, given the audience, he also branched into targeted territory, bringing up stagnant wages. He provided the audience with details about how his plans would improve the economy, resulting in opportunities for higher wages.
The rest of the stump speech focused on his plans to to abolish Obamacare, pass a flat tax, end welfare benefits for illegal immigrants, and abolish the IRS. He also made sure he got in a few shots at Trump, criticizing his opponent for donating to the campaigns of New York Democrats like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
The Scotia stop was the first of many Cruz plans to make in Upstate New York ahead of the state's April 19 presidential primary. The goal is to gain the support of Upstate evangelicals, in addition to his outreach efforts with New York City Hispanic and Jewish voters.
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