We noted last week that Ted Cruz was planning to meet with hundreds of conservative pastors and Religious Right activists on a ranch owned by fracking billionaires and right-wing sugar daddies Farris and Dan Wilks. On Christmas Day, the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reported some additional details about the gathering, which was scheduled to bring some 300 conservative religious activists together with Cruz yesterday, with additional events scheduled this evening.
Cruz’s trip to Cisco will culminate Tuesday evening with a private fundraiser then a public rally, both to be held with the senator’s family at a community center the Wilkses helped build. The fundraiser, which begins at 5 p.m., costs between $500 and $2,700 to attend. The rally is set to start two hours later, following a concert by the Newsboys, a Christian rock band.
Religious Right activist David Barton is among the organizers:
The meeting is being organized at least in part by Keep the Promise PAC, one of four main super PACs supporting Cruz. Keep the Promise PAC is headed by David Barton, an influential Christian activist and author who formerly served as the vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
Laura Barnett, a spokeswoman for Keep the Promise PAC, said the meeting is “designed as an open dialogue with Sen. Cruz and an opportunity to listen to and learn from one another.” A guest list was unavailable Saturday, but Barnett said the number of RSVPs far exceeded organizers’ expectations and those attending “represent a diverse cross-section of the faith community.”
The Tribune reported that Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was scheduled to attend even though he’s skeptical of Cruz’s harsh positions on immigration.
“Engaging white evangelicals is nice and it’s wonderful, but it doesn’t get you across the goal line. It doesn’t,” Rodriguez said. “Ask Mitt Romney and ask John McCain. White evangelical support for the GOP does not equal occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Rodriguez suggested Cruz has made that task even harder with his recent clarification that he does not support legalization for the estimated 12 million people in the country illegally. As a result of that “immigration pivot,” Rodriguez said, he is personally heading to Cisco with a “significant amount of angst.”