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September 11th, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz – Goes on Sale in Iowa

Perhaps no politician in the country is more in demand at the moment than Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Since being elected in 2012, Cruz has seen his national profile skyrocket, and he’s become a potential 2016 presidential candidate after serving less than a year in the U.S. Senate.

Popular politicians like Cruz are often highly sought after speakers for political organizations and other candidates because they can draw a large crowd, and thus help raise a lot of money. That’s why I was surprised to see that tickets to the Republican Party of Iowa’s Reagan Dinner featuring Cruz are being marked down by 25 percent.

A couple of things may be going on here. First, advertising discounted tickets may just be a marketing ploy being used by the Iowa GOP. Perhaps more people, or better yet, new people, may decide to attend the event because they think they are getting a good deal. It is also possible that Sen. Cruz’s recent barnstorming of Iowa – this will be his third trip to Iowa since late July – has lessened Cruz’s demand in Iowa.

Cruz attended a faith-based event and a fundraiser luncheon for the Iowa GOP in July and spoke at The FAMiLY Leader’s Leadership Summit less than a month ago in Ames. Those events provided Iowa Republicans a chance to see Cruz at a much cheaper price than the $100 per ticket that the Iowa GOP typically charges for its Reagan Dinner. Relations between the Iowa GOP and the more traditional Republican donors and activists also likely hinder ticket sales.

Dipping one’s toes in Iowa’s presidential waters seems pretty simple to do. All a potential candidate needs to do is come to Iowa, shake a few hands, and get some media coverage, and it’s a huge success right? Wrong. While it may look that easy, managing one’s exposure and expectations can be incredibly difficult. If a potential candidate comes here too often too early, he could dampen the excitement about his potential candidacy.

The one complaint I’ve heard from people in Texas who have witnessed Cruz’s rapid rise in American politics is that he lacks a political team that can help him navigate the often-cumbersome political landscape. His three trips to Iowa in three months seem to give that criticism some credence. Cruz has had an amazing year, but if he’s serious about running for president in 2016, he needs to be able to remain relevant.

Cruz is probably not even aware that the price of tickets to see him at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Reagan Dinner has been discounted. Typically tickets to a fundraising event don’t go on sale, but it is one of a few unusual tactics that the current administration at the Iowa GOP seems to like employing. In fact, at the June picnic that Cruz attended for the Republican Party of Iowa, the administration capped the number of people who could attend the event, again, another odd occurrence for a fundraising event.

Even though Cruz likely doesn’t having anything to do with the tickets going on sale, he does have to deal with the perception that it creates. A potential presidential candidate like Cruz wants and needs to draw large audiences in order for the perception of him to equal reality. Discounted ticket prices tell a different story. And while it would never work this way in real life, one has to worry that if tickets had to be discounted by 25 percent after just two trips to central Iowa, what its going to be like in a couple of years?

Who knows, by 2015 Cruz may need to be paying Iowans to show up at events. Oh, wait a minute. That typically does happen in presidential years as Iowans enjoy a free bowl of soup or day at the Iowa Straw Poll.

For tickets to the event, click here.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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