Top Cruz Aide to House Colleagues: Please Say Nice Things
Sen. Ted Cruz has plenty of friends in the House Republican Conference , and quite a few in his home-state delegation, too.
But most GOP members aren’t quite ready to officially back the Texas senator’s 2016 presidential bid. On Wednesday, just about a month after Cruz’s official campaign kickoff, Cruz Chief of Staff Paul Teller sent an email around to a handful of congressional offices to see if members wouldn’t mind praising his boss on the record.
“He wants to show as much congressional support as possible, so anything you could say or do (including tipping me off to who else in the delegation might be supportive), we’d so appreciate,” Teller wrote in one email, obtained by CQ Roll Call, to an anonymous House lawmaker.
Teller used his personal email address to correspond with House offices, avoiding a situation where he could run afoul of ethics rules prohibiting campaigning using official House or Senate resources.
Based on a small sample size of Cruz’s House GOP allies — those who have in the past attended strategy sessions at local watering hole Tortilla Coast or pizza dinners in his office in the Dirksen building — Teller’s letter was either not widely disseminated among House offices, or aides had not yet passed them along to their members.
Several House Republicans told CQ Roll Call Wednesday afternoon they were unfamiliar with the email — with some members stressing they aren’t nearly ready to wade in with an endorsement beyond saying Cruz is a “great guy” and a “friend.”
“Ted has my cellphone number,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., said. “So he could just call me.”
While Cruz is a household name across the country, Teller is familiar in the House itself.
A longtime executive director for the conservative Republican Study Committee, he was dismissed in late 2013 by then-RSC chairman, now-Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., after Teller was accused of undermining confidentiality agreements and leaking conversations to outside conservative groups.
A month later, Cruz scooped Teller up as his new deputy chief of staff.
“Paul’s many years of experience working in Congress and his tireless work to advance conservative principles make him a tremendous addition to our team,” Cruz said in a statement at the time.
Teller now holds the top role in the office.
For the House Republican aide who passed along Teller’s email to CQ Roll Call, the irony was not lost.
“The guy who once used the RSC and outside groups to pressure House Republicans is now asking for their support,” the aide wrote, “not to mention a candidate who has based his entire persona fighting against Congress.”
Teller declined to comment.
Here’s a the text of his email:
Hey there Rep. [REDACTED]. I hope the Easter break was excellent for you! Real quick, now that Ted Cruz’s candidacy for president is official, I was wondering if you’d be willing to say supportive things about Ted in public/ in the media. Ideally, I know he’d love a formal endorsement, but that may be too much to ask this early on. Though of course please let me know if that’s something you could consider. Thanks so much–he wants to show as much congressional support as possible, so anything you could say or do (including tipping me off to who else in the delegation might be supportive), we’d so appreciate. Thanks and take care—-
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