SAN ANTONIO (CN) — Senator Ted Cruz lauded his party’s accomplishments under President Donald Trump at the Republican Party of Texas convention Saturday, but warned delegates they would need to unify to defeat “the hard left” in November and keep the state “bright red.”
“The hard left is angry,” Cruz said. “They hate the president and they’re coming for Texas.
“Now here’s the good news,” Cruz added: “There are a lot more conservatives than liberals in the state of Texas.”
Nearly 10,000 delegates attended the party’s biennial state convention in San Antonio, which began Thursday and ended Saturday by approving a platform with more than 300 resolutions, but few surprises.
Delegates approved resolutions to oppose gun control, to abolish abortion, and limit government interference in society.
But breaking from traditional Republican stances, delegates passed resolutions supporting the use of medical cannabis, the production of industrial hemp, and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, which 61 percent of Texans support, according to an April Quinnipiac University poll.
They approved several anti-transgender planks, resolving to try again to pass legislation that would restrict the use of bathrooms by transgender people. The “bathroom bill” failed in last legislative session, and pitted the state House speaker Joe Straus, a moderate Republican, against the Tea-Party backed lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick.
Acknowledging the tensions in the state Republican Party, including a contentious race for chairmanship and primary battles that had GOP candidates arguing about who supported Trump more, Cruz called for unity.
“We need to come together, because we’ve got a job to do,” Cruz said in his speech on the final day of the convention.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the November elections would be a “battle for the soul of Texas.” Cruz said there would be much broader repercussions, calling the general election a “battle for the direction of the country.”
Cruz, who will defend his seat in November against Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke, said that if liberals succeed in taking control of the U.S. House or Senate, they will “paralyze” the Trump administration.
“The day that speaker [Nancy] Pelosi is sworn in is the day that impeachment proceedings begin,” Cruz said. “It’s the day that scores of subpoenas go out, all designed to cripple the federal government.”
Cruz, whom Trump defeated for the 2016 presidential nomination, said conservatives have achieved “extraordinary” victories in the past year and a half, including tax cuts, regulatory reform, the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Another major victory, Cruz said, was the confirmation of “constitutionalists up and down the federal bench.”
“One-eighth of the federal appellate judges in the country were appointed by Donald J. Trump,” Cruz said. “For every one of us who values the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, who values life, who values religious liberty, who values free speech, who values the Second Amendment, it is the judges who are at the crossroads of preserving those rights or taking them away.”
Cruz ripped into his opponent O’Rourke as a leftist — “running like Bernie Sanders” — but acknowledged that the congressman from El Paso raised $6.7 million in the past quarter, nearly twice as much as Cruz.
“[O’Rourke] embraces sanctuary cities,” Cruz said. “Not only does he not want to build a wall, he says we have too many walls, we need to tear down the fences and walls we have on the border.”
Cruz’s condemnation of O’Rourke was the only time he mentioned immigration policy in his speech. Texas is the home to several detention camps where immigrant child are being held, apart from their parents — a policy that is drawing increasing criticism even from some Republicans.
Later Saturday, Cruz competed against late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel in a charity match called the “Blobfish Basketball Classic” in Houston.
O’Rourke, meanwhile, was organizing a Father’s Day protest march in Tornillo, a tiny town 40 miles southeast of El Paso, where the Trump administration is housing hundreds of immigrant children in a tent camp.
Both events attracted thousands of people.