Former President George W. Bush is headlining fundraisers for GOP candidates facing tough challenges ahead of the midterm elections. He won’t, however, be appearing on behalf of Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from his home state of Texas, The Dallas Morning News reported.
A spokesman for Bush told the newspaper that the other campaign appearances “work with our schedule.”
But it’s no secret Bush is not a big fan of Cruz, who served as domestic policy adviser for Bush’s 2000 presidential race and in his November’s elections faces a tough battle against Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Bush said of Cruz at a GOP fundraising event in late 2015: “I just don’t like the guy,” several donors at the gathering told Politico. Cruz was running at the time against Bush’s brother, Jeb Bush, for the GOP presidential nomination.
“The tenor of what he said about the other candidates was really pretty pleasant,” one witness told Politico. “Until he got to Cruz.”
Bush called Cruz’s apparent alliance with Donald Trump early in the GOP presidential race “opportunistic,” a source told Politico. That relationship soured soon after when Trump derided Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, and repeated a bizarre conspiracy theory that Cruz’s father was linked to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
During a radio interview in Lubbock, Texas, Cruz was asked about Bush campaigning with him.
“I worked for him for many years, and we’ll see if something happens with him or not,” Cruz responded, The Houston Chronicle reported.
Bush headlined a fundraiser Friday for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for the Senate. He’s also scheduled to appear at events for North Dakota Senate candidate Kevin Cramer, Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley, and Indiana Senate candidate Mike Braun, Politico reported last week.
“While he prefers to consider himself retired from politics, he recognizes how important it is (for the GOP) to keep the Senate and decided to help a few key candidates,” said Bush spokesman Freddy Ford.
In Texas, the former president is also lending his help to GOP Rep. Pete Sessions and recently appeared at an event supporting GOP Rep. Will Hurd.