Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzTed CruzOvernight Defense: Senators go to White House for North Korea briefing | Admiral takes 'hit' for aircraft carrier mixup | Lawmakers urged to beef up US missile defense Senators get North Korea briefing in unusual WH visit Overnight Tech: FCC chief unveils plan for net neutrality rollback | Tech on Trump's sweeping tax plan | Cruz looks to boost space industry MORE on Sunday crowed about his freedom from the political establishment in Washington, D.C.
“According to Washington, D.C., I am dead last,” he said, citing his last place finish in the GOP presidential caucuses in the nation’s capital the day before.
Cruz went on to argue that government bureaucracy is strangling national prosperity outside of Washington.
“The heart of our economy is not Washington, D.C., and it’s not New York City,” the Republican White House hopeful said. "If you want to see the economy take off, you lift the boot of the federal government off the necks of small businesses.”
Cruz additionally slammed GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFox poll: Trump approval below 50 percent Pelosi gives Trump an incomplete for first 100 days Poll: More say Trump will increase their taxes MORE as a political insider who had made billions wheeling and dealing with the powers that be.
“He’s been supporting left-wing Democratic politicians for 40 years,” he said of Trump’s past in politics. "I have no experience doing that.
“I will not compromise away your religious liberty. I will not compromise away your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
Cruz then asked that GOP voters unsatisfied with Trump pick his campaign as the real estate tycoon’s foil.
“Our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump over and over again,” he said.
“This race started with 17 Republican candidates,” Cruz continued. "At this point, there are only two candidates who have any plausible path to the 1,237 delegates needed to become the nominee — me and Donald Trump.
“Come on in, the water’s fine,” he urged undecided Republicans and voters backing fellow candidates Marco RubioMarco RubioWhat’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? Boeing must be stopped from doing business with Iran Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms MORE or John Kasich.
Cruz’s remarks come two days before North Carolina’s GOP presidential primary, which is one of six total voting contests on Tuesday.
Trump has won 15 primaries or caucuses so far, trailed by 8 for Cruz, three for Rubio and zero for Kasich. He also leads his Republican presidential rivals by more than 14 points nationwide, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls.