Steinhauser: On eve of NH trip, Cruz campaign tops $2 million mark
CONCORD - Ted Cruz heads back to New Hampshire Friday.
The Republican senator from Texas returns to the first-in-the-nation primary state less than two weeks since he last visited. In between his two trips, Cruz became the first big name in either of the two major political parties to officially launch a presidential campaign.
The last couple of days have been lucrative for the Cruz campaign, which confirmed to NH1 that as of Thursday evening it raked in $2 million since Monday's launch. The Cruz campaign's intial goal was to raise $1 million during the first week.
Campaign officials say that half of the money raised so far has come from small dollar donations.
While Cruz campaigns in the Granite State Friday and Saturday, behind the scenes his new New Hampshire based senior adviser is busy building a team, and support.
"At this point we're talking to everyone across the spectrum in the party and we're not talking anyone for granted, said Ethan Zorfas, who joined the Cruz campaign earlier this week.
"The senator takes this primary very seriously and expects to compete here," Zorfas told NH1 News. "We're going to be talking to everybody and try to build a coalition that includes all of the conservative groups here in the state, certainly that includes tea parties and libertarians as well as others.
Zorfas has been a top political adviser to GOP Rep. Frank Guinta for five years. The past couple of months Guinta's been meeting with many of the potential Republican presidential candidates, giving Zorfas a window into the 2016 race.
"I've had a chance as a Granite Stater to view and meet a handful of candidates here the last few months and I think that Sen. Cruz brings a great message of restoring some of the principles to Washington," Zorfas added. "He tells you how it is and tells you what he'll do and I think voters and Granite Staters are craving that and that's what really appealed to me in signing on with him."
As for his job ahead, Zorfas confessed that "New Hampshire is obviously priority number one, two and three for me," adding that "we'll be adding staff in the coming months and looking forward to building a robust organization."
In a sign of the work Zorfas has ahead of him, a Suffolk University poll of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters released Thursday indicated Cruz at 5% support, in the upper echelon of a crowded pack of contenders registering in the single digits, far behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (19%) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (14%).
When Cruz returns Friday, his first stop will be VFW Post 8641 in Merrimack, for a rally being organized by the newly formed 603 Alliance and Conservative Business League of New Hampshire. The group of conservative business leaders, activists, and politicians, is looking to eventually consolidate behind a single candidate.
Conservative activist Andrew Hemingway, one of the leaders behind the new organization, told NH1 News that moments after Cruz announced for president on Monday, "my Facebook feed was full of New Hampshire conservatives who are really excited that he was running."
Hemingway, who ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination last year, predicted that Cruz "I think he's going to do very well here."
After the Merrimack rally, Cruz heads south a few miles to Nashua, where he speaks and mingles at the Young America Foundation's "New England Freedom Conference" at the Radisson Hotel. The two-day event's expected to attract young conservative activists from across New England.
Saturday Cruz headlines a Seacoast Republican Women's brunch at the Portsmouth Country Club.