by Jay Root
Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Paul Sadler, taking a shot at his rival before the GOP convention in Tampa, made Republican Ted Cruz’s foreign birth a campaign issue Friday and said Cruz’s policy initiatives are far too radical for Texas.
“He needs to go back to Washington where he’s from, or Canada, because he doesn’t reflect us,” Sadler said. “I was born and raised here … when you cut me, I bleed Texas. He doesn’t, and I don’t have much use for it.”
Cruz was born in Calgary, in Western Canada, but he grew up in Houston and is an American citizen.
The Cruz campaign declined comment.
Sadler, a former legislator from East Texas, made his comments a few days before the start of the Republican National Convention, where Cruz has been given a prime-time speaking role on Monday night.
Cruz, who has never held elective office, has become something of a Tea Party rock star since defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. He is the only Texan expected to have a major speaking role at the Tampa event.
Neither Texas Gov. Rick Perry nor Texas Congressman Ron Paul, both unsuccessful 2012 presidential candidates, were given speaking roles at the convention.
Sadler expressed support for the Democratic ticket but said he is skipping the Democratic National Convention early next month in Charlotte, N.C. He said he’s already talked to delegates and attendees who can vote for him back home.
The Democrat, fighting an uphill battle in a red state, said he will focus instead on visits with Texas voters. He suggested that Cruz cares more about the national spotlight than the state he wants to represent in the U.S. Senate.
“If he wants to be a national movement type of politician, that’s great, but I’m going to be spending my time in Texas listening to Texans because Texas wants to pick its own senator, not have Washington pick it,” Sadler said.
Sadler said his fundraising, which he had called shockingly bad during the primary, has improved dramatically since he won his party’s nomination on July 31. He said once voters understand the “radical” agenda Cruz is promoting, he will become the first Democrat to win statewide office since 1994.
Sadler said Cruz’s proposal to abolish three federal departments — Education, Commerce and Energy — would cost the state billions of dollars in federal education aid, wipe out U.S. weather bureaus and dismantle important energy programs.
“They’re just radical ideas. They’re destructive to Texans. They’re destructive to our state,” Sadler said. “We don’t support those extreme views, that’s not who we are.”
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://trib.it/T5PW2g.