On Wednesday morning, former Sen. Ted Cruz staffer Raz Shafer announced his new super PAC to launch Cruz to the presidency in 2016. Shafer's goal is to get 1 million signatures to "draft" Cruz for president. By 1 pm on Wednesday, he had less than 60.
Shafer's group was created in the same vein as Ready for Hillary, the super PAC founded by an ex-Hillary Clinton staffer in 2013. Super PACs can't coordinate with candidates, and the history of Ready for Hillary has indicated some tension between it and the (possible) candidate. That "Draft Ted Cruz for President" was founded by a recent staffer — Shafer was a regional director for Cruz in Texas until February — certainly seems to suggest that it has the (possible) candidate's tacit approval.
Shafer's pitch? In an op-ed for RedState.com, he writes, "I'm convinced that if we want to win the White House in 2016, we must nominate a consistent, full-spectrum conservative. We need a candidate who stands for something and won't back down when the liberals launch their attacks." Conservatives seem slightly less ready for Cruz than Democrats are for Clinton, however. This morning, runtedrun.com is resting easy at 888 signatures. Not a viral campaign yet.
Nor do pundits and analysts see Cruz as a frontrunner right now. Crystal Ball ranked him "second tier" this week, behind Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Marco Rubio. Ball says Cruz's "pros" are that he's a Tea Party favorite and dynamic speaker. His "cons" are that he's a Tea Party favorite and "disliked on both sides of the Senate aisle." The Wire's official analysis is that Cruz wasn't that cool in high school compared to Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie.
Shafer sees the work ahead of him: "Making DC listen won’t be easy. It’s going to take millions of Americans standing together to draft, nominate, and elect Ted Cruz as president, and we need your help today." Runtedtun.com will likely break 1000 signatures this morning.