Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Prospects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer Ted Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report MORE avoided a question on Sunday about whether he should've done better in South Carolina, given the state's large number of evangelical Christians, saying instead that his campaign is on track and has done better than people expected.

Cruz said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he closed the gap with front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE "tremendously" in the week before the South Carolina primary, where he finished "effectively tied for second place."

Cruz defended his campaign so far, saying that as the field narrows, there is only one strongly conservative candidate who has "a path to winning."

"That is having the effect of unifying conservatives nationally and teeing us up for Nevada and especially for Super Tuesday coming up in nine days," he said,

"And that was always our plan, do well in the first three states and then compete and have a very strong night on Super Tuesday. I think we're ideally positioned to do exactly that.

Cruz said that rivals Trump and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE got "very personal, got very nasty," when asked if he thinks Trump's questioning of his Christianity drew evangelical voters to the billionaire.  

Cruz side-stepped the question, instead hitting on his rivals for attacking him, and emphasizing that the election needs to be focused on substance and records rather than character.

"When you point to their records, they follow the same pattern. They scream, 'Liar, liar, liar.' They impugn your integrity, they attack your character. And as you know, from the very beginning of this campaign, nearly a year now, I have consistently refused to respond in kind. I am not going to impugn anyone's integrity, I am not going to attack their character," he said.

Cruz said he's the candidate that opposes citizenship for people in this country illegally, opposes ObamaCare and will defend life, marriage, religious liberty and the Second Amendment.

"I'm the only candidate with that record. That's why conservatives are uniting behind our campaign. And if they want to continue with the attacks, that's their prerogative. We're going to stay focused on the substance because I think that's what the voters want, I think that's what they deserve," he said.