Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's support among white Protestant Republicans ticks up GOP senator pushes Trump to adopt 'constitutional agenda' Trump: Cruz, Kasich shouldn't speak at convention without endorsement 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 TrumpClinton lauds Warren in first joint appearance Former Bush national security official backing Clinton over Trump Warren knocks Trump as she campaigns with Clinton 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 RubioRubio challenger takes aim at Senate reversal in new ad Juan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump Colorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open 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.