Affair Allegations May Threaten Ted Cruz's Support Among Evangelicals

Ted Cruz identifies as a Southern Baptist. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The bizarre presidential race of 2016 keeps getting stranger. Now, the National Enquirer has entered the conversation with a story about Ted Cruz.

The story alleged that the Republican candidate engaged in five extramarital affairs. Cruz denied the allegations at a campaign stop in Wisconsin on Friday and accused Donald Trump of planting the story in the National Enquirer.

“Let me be clear: This National Enquirer story is garbage,” Cruz said. “It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear. And it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen. It is attacking my family.”

Cruz has been embroiled in controversy for several days. Earlier this week, Trump made a cryptic threat on Twitter involving Cruz’s wife, Heidi. On Thursday, Cruz responded by calling Trump “a sniveling coward.” On Friday, Cruz was on the offensive — and defensive — again.

“I don’t make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family,” Cruz said when asked if he would support Trump if he becomes the party’s nominee. “And Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee.”

So much for unifying the Grand Old Party.

Whether or not the Cruz affair story turns out to be true, damage may have been done to his campaign. The Texas senator has been running on a faith-focused platform and touting his Christian credentials. The religious right has blessed his presidential bid. Winning the evangelical vote is a big part of Cruz’s strategy to win the White House.

But when the hashtag #TedCruzSexScandal is trending on Twitter and rumors of infidelity are making headlines, it’s not a good look for a presidential candidate. Cruz could lose support with his base of social conservatives and have a hard time dispelling the notion that he’s a hypocrite.

The idea that Cruz is a charlatan isn’t new. Some people have questioned the authenticity of his religious beliefs since he launched his campaign at Liberty University last March.

The latest allegations won’t help erase any doubts.

Eric Ortiz
Managing Editor
Eric Ortiz is the managing editor of Truthdig. A journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John…
Eric Ortiz

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