Cruz lands former Ron Paul supporters

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzIs Georgia turning blue? Five takeaways from money race Club for Growth: Anti-Trump spending proved to be 'good call' MORE (R-Texas) on Tuesday rolled out endorsements from nine supporters of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the father of Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election How low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? MORE (R-Ky.).

The endorsements, headlined by former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), bolster Cruz’s Libertarian credentials and cut into support that seemed a natural fit for Rand Paul, Cruz’s rival for the GOP presidential nomination.

Barr, who ran for president in 2008 as a Libertarian and is now head of the nonprofit group Liberty Guard, will serve as national chairman for the “Liberty Leaders for Cruz” coalition.

“More than any other candidate for President in 2016, Cruz understands that the oath the president takes is a solemn commitment to always act in accordance with the Constitution, which is after all, the mechanism whereby our individual and collective freedoms as a country are secured,” Barr said in a statement. “It is that commitment to the Constitution and to liberty that has drawn me to serve Sen. Cruz.”

Cruz’s new activists include several influential Iowa conservatives, all of whom backed Ron Paul in 2012, including Joel Kurtinitis, the founder of Liberty Iowa and a regional director for Ron Paul in 2012; Jason Schultz, a state senator; Crystal McIntyre, a Warren County supervisor; and Shawn Dietz, the Franklin County GOP chairman.

The Cruz campaign released a video to accompany the rollout in which the new supporters explain why they supported Ron Paul in 2012 and support Cruz in 2016. Several of Cruz’s new activists made statements that could be seen as slaps at Rand Paul.

Kurtinitis said Cruz is the Republican presidential candidate who has “picked up the mantle of Ron Paul,” while McIntyre said she was drawn to the Texas Republican because “he had been endorsed by Ron Paul and by Rand Paul” in his Senate run.

Cruz is polling in the middle of the pack of Republicans in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, but many political watchers believe he’s well-positioned to scoop up support from the contingent of outsiders who have dominated the race so far.