Three more Texas lawmakers endorse Cruz
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Three more Texas Republicans in the House announced Thursday they're backing Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzGOP wrestles with soaring deductibles in healthcare bill Cruz: Tax reform chances ‘drop significantly’ if healthcare fails Ex-CBO directors defend against GOP attacks on ObamaCare analysis MORE (R-Texas) for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The Cruz campaign rolled out endorsements from Texas Reps. Louie Gohmert, Michael Burgess and John Ratcliffe, who joined fellow Texas Republican Rep. John Culberson, who announced his support in April.

Ratcliffe cited Cruz’s “unwavering conservative values,” his stand against ObamaCare and broad appeal as “a full-spectrum conservative” as reasons for backing his Lone Star State colleague.

"We need someone in the White House who will respect the rule of law and the Constitution,” Culberson, an eight-term congressman from Houston, said in a statement. “There is no one more dedicated to restoring constitutional principles and protecting our individual liberties than Ted Cruz."

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Ratcliffe, a freshman lawmaker, said Cruz has the ability to “bring together Republicans of all stripes.”

“He excites all corners of our movement and will unite the Reagan coalition that represents a majority of the country,” he said. “After eight years of Obama, it is critical we win in November, and Ted Cruz is the leader to pull that majority together.”

Cruz leaped into the top field of GOP presidential contenders, boosted by his early campaign launch in March. He’s since fallen back some but is within striking distance of the top tier, sitting in sixth place with 8.6 percent support nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Burgess on Thursday nodded to Cruz’s penchant for splitting from the GOP pack in the Senate, as he did in 2013, when he led the charge to defund ObamaCare, leading to a government shutdown.

“He’s proven that in the Senate and has remained steadfast to his strong conservative principles,” Burgess said. “Standing up to the political elites and the special interests is hard enough, but when you’re one of only a handful, that not only shows leadership but great character."

"As he led the battle against Obamacare, while fighting for the right and ability to choose our own best healthcare, Ted demonstrated principled leadership,” said Gohmert. “He is also more interested in the opinions of those he serves than of some focus group."

Cruz was back home in Texas earlier this week meeting with local business leaders and activists. There, he got into a heated exchange with a reporter, who repeatedly asked him questions about gay marriage.

“Is there something about the left, and I am going to put the media in this category, that is obsessed with sex?” Cruz responded. “Why is it the only question you want to ask concerns homosexuals? ... You're wincing. You don't want to talk about foreign policy. I recognize you want to ask another question about gay rights.

“You know, ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] is executing homosexuals,” Cruz continued. “You want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals.

"That ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic,” he added.

There are still 21 Texas Republican lawmakers in the House who have yet to endorse a candidate. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has also not weighed in.

Most of the early GOP presidential endorsements from lawmakers have come in favor of their home-state candidates.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been endorsed by three of Kentucky’s five House Republicans, five GOP Florida House members have backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), and one has come out in favor of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

— This story was updated at 10:29 a.m.