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Ted Cruz/Rick Perry rivalry shaping up for 2016

Ted Cruz and Rick Perry
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There are some indications that the big rivalry for the 2016 election may take place entirely within Texas. In one corner stands Ted Cruz, the junior senator from the Lone Star State, a tea party favorite, Ivy League educated politician with the reputation of a firebrand. In the other corner stands Rick Perry, the outgoing governor of Texas, who will likely run as the business friendly statesman who can get things done.

Perhaps the first head to head confrontation between Cruz and Perry will take place on Aug 9, according to a Friday story in the Dallas Daily News, when both will attend the third annual Family Leadership Summit at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. They will be addressing two groups of people who are very important for Republicans running for president, Christian conservatives and Iowa caucus voters.

While not a lot of daylight separates the two Texas politicians on the issues, they have already sniped at one another. Perry made a caustic reference to the government shutdown that many blame on Cruz. “Everybody gets to go out and do their thing. That’s his thing. My thing is governing,” he said.

Cruz, for his part, has snorted at the often repeated boast by Perry that he has helped created jobs in Texas. “Nothing drives me crazier than politicians who run around talking about the jobs they’ve created. Politicians are very good at killing jobs, but they don’t create jobs.” Perry has spent a lot of time traveling to other states, urging companies to move their businesses and the jobs they contain to Texas. He has touted the Lone Star State’s business friendly environment, which he has taken a great deal of credit for.

Complicating matters is the fact that Perry has run for president before, in 2012, and it did not end up well. He exhibited some poor performances on the stump and at debates, the result he claims of insomnia brought on by back pain. In the meantime Cruz outperforms Perry in every polling matchup.

Just under two years out from the 2016 primary season, it is hard to predict who will prove the strongest, Cruz. Perry, or someone else. The Fort Worth Star Telegram implies an interesting scenario in which Perry stops Cruz, mainly by being more affable, and then is rewarded in the second slot on a Jeb Bush led ticket. Stranger things have happened.

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