U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz clobbered 13 other potential presidential candidates in a straw poll decided by delegates at the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth. Cruz captured 43 percent of the vote.
Conservative speaker and author Ben Carson placed second with 12.2 percent. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky placed third with 12.1 percent.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry came in fourth with 11.7 percent of the votes cast at a convention with about 5,800 delegates.
Cruz electrified conservatives as he linked a series of events to themes of liberty and freedom:
- the D-Day invasion in France 70 years ago by Allied troops fighting Nazi Germany;
- the 1831 Battle of Gonzalez, where Texans resisted Mexican soldiers attempting to take their cannon emblazoned with the words “come and take it;'
- the current imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan. Ibrahim, the wife of a New Hampshire man, has been sentenced to death for converting to Christianity. Cruz is calling on the Obama administration to demand her release.
Cruz also talked tough about Iran. He recently traveled to Israel and Ukraine in what some viewed as a trip to bolster his foreign policy credentials for a presidential campaign.