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GOP Delegates React To Cruz Convention Speech

Texas Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz basked in the spotlight at the Republican National Convention last evening. But he’s still not a well known name outside the Lone Star state. Matt Laslo reports from Tampa.

Ted Cruz is a tea party darling. While establishment Republicans tried to stop him in the Texas primary, he overcame opponent Lt. Governor David Dewhurst by drawing nationwide financial and volunteer support from the conservative wing of the party. And Cruz stayed on message at the R.N.C. (Republican National Convention).

“We are seeing a great awakening, a national movement of “We the People,” Cruz said. "Brought together by what unites us: a shared love of liberty.”

The convention spotlight can propel candidates to national prominence. But even after his speech Cruz  still has a ways to go in the recognition department.

“Okay, I’m not familiar with him then.”

That’s Joe Schwartz, an Alaskan delegate. But Maryland Delegate O. P. Ditch says from what he’s heard Cruz is his man.

“The Palin endorsement does it for me," Ditch said. "Sure. It means he’s a true conservative. He’s a constitutional conservative.”

Even though Cruz is still an obscure figure, Republicans are taking notice. Ron Talcott a delegate from Takoma, Washington, says Cruz won him over last night.

“I thought the fact that he didn’t speak with a podium or didn’t speak with any electronic assistance and was very communicative, he knew what he believed and was able to articulate it very clearly," Talcott said. "It was very much what I believe and I was impressed.”

The Texas delegation gave Cruz a warm welcome. Arlington delegate Jorge Landivar says he’s a great spokesperson for the Republican cause.

“We want people that are able to articulate a very, very clear message," Landivar said. "The guy was an amazing solicitor general. He was very good when he sued the EPA and other people. And he was very, very clear.”

And Landivar says it isn’t a bad thing that he’s not a nationally known entity yet.

“It’s okay. I don’t think it matters that much," Landivar said. "His job isn’t to go around and talk on TV. His job is to vote in the Senate.”

Cruz still has to win his race in November before he can attempt to carry through on his message of shrinking the federal government. He'll face Democrat Paul Sadler.

For KERA News, I’m Matt Laslo in Tampa.