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Texan James Moore, a self-described progressive pundit and communications consultant, took note of a Texas U.S. senator's latest stop in Iowa by posting a comparative tweet on March 20, 2014.
"Ted Cruz has been to Iowa four times. Rio Grande Valley of Texas -- just once," Moore wrote.
Cruz, a Republican lawyer elected to the Senate in 2012, has been flitting in and out of Iowa, home to the quadrennial party caucuses kicking off each presidential election year. We were curious whether Moore's contrast holds up, especially per the infrequency of Cruz's forays to the valley, the region closest to the state’s southeastern border with Mexico.
'Anybody will tell you'
Moore, who was in McAllen when we talked to him, told us by phone that his claim -- meant to refer to Cruz’s time as a senator, he said -- was based on what Moore had heard while in the valley. "Everybody and anybody in the valley will tell you," Moore said, adding that Cruz had spoken at a club and then at a border park.
After emailing Cruz's office about the accuracy of Moore’s statement, we searched the Nexis database of news stories for accounts on Cruz trips to the valley and Iowa.
Let’s start with the Texas mention, then count Cruz trips to Iowa.
Several valley stops on Sept. 3, 2013
In Cruz’s nearly 15 months as senator, he spent a weekday in the valley, according to regional news stories. That day was Sept. 3, 2013, when Cruz spoke at a sold-out luncheon in Mission and a stop at the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission, according to news stories posted that day by the McAllen Monitor and San Antonio Express-News.
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told us by email that Cruz did three events that day in the valley--going to McAllen for a Department of Public Safety border tour and roundtable with landowners to discuss border/immigration policy and to Mission for a "Rio Grande Partnership" lunch.
Cruz, Frazier said, looks forward to more events in the valley, "one specific region in the state." "Since being sworn in," she said, "he has traveled to 38 Texas cities for 118 events."
Cruz also stumped in the valley before his election. According to a Monitor news story posted online Oct. 13, 2012, Cruz was featured at a weekend event hosted at a Mission club by the McAllen Tea Party Association. Nearly 250 people paid $25 each to attend, according to the article. Cruz said then: "We are campaigning all across the state of Texas. From the day we started this campaign nearly two years ago, we’ve gone 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, crisscrossing the state."
Moore told us the fact that his tweet didn’t say he was speaking to Cruz’s time as senator wasn’t significant, partly because Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters. A Moore commentary published by the Huffington Post a few hours after he wrote his tweet was direct about focusing on Cruz's Senate time. Cruz, Moore wrote, "has been to Iowa four times in the... months he has been in office but has made one appearance here in the subtropical region along the border."
Four Iowa trips
Now let's look north, where news stories indicate Cruz has been to the Hawkeye State four times since joining the Senate.
On Feb. 11, 2014, a Dallas Morning News news blog post datelined Washington, D.C., opened by saying Cruz "returns to Iowa next month -- his fourth trip in eight months, ensuring ongoing speculation about his 2016 ambitions." The newspaper made the same fourth-time-in-eight-months reference in its March 18, 2014, news story on Cruz’s appearance before the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators.
Cruz made his initial senatorial trip to Iowa in July 2013, according to a July 19, 2013, Associated Press news story, giving a private speech to the conservative American Renewal Project and headlining a GOP fundraiser.
A commentary by Wayne Slater of the Morning News, posted online that day, said that when reporters in Iowa inquired into Cruz’s presidential ambitions, he demurred. "I've been in office all of seven months," Cruz said. "Prior to that, the last elective office I held was student council. It's been quite a whirlwind."
The senator’s second Iowa stop occurred Aug. 10, 2013 when he spoke to hundreds of evangelical Christians and social conservatives at a summit in Ames, Iowa, according to a news story posted online that day by the Ames Tribune.
Another Iowa stop, Politico reported, entailed Cruz stirring Iowa Republicans at an annual fundraising dinner Oct. 25, 2013 before heading to a pheasant hunt in the state. In an Oct. 26, 2013, news story, the Omaha World-Herald summed up: "This was Cruz's third visit to Iowa this year..."
The 'fair comparison'
On Cruz's behalf, Frazier said by email the "fair comparison to make is that the senator has been to Iowa 4 times and travels back to Texas almost every weekend."
Moore tweeted: "Ted Cruz has been to Iowa four times. Rio Grande Valley of Texas -- just once."
This is correct if limited to Cruz’s year-plus as the state’s junior senator, which is what Moore made clear in his subsequent blog post. We rate this claim as True.
TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.
Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.
Telephone interview and emails (excerpted), James Moore, McAllen, March 20, 2014
News stories "Ted Cruz talks platform at Tea Party event in Mission," the McAllen Monitor, posted online Oct. 13, 2012; "Cruz: Immigration reform shouldn’t include path to citizenship," the Monitor, posted online Sept. 3, 2013 (accessed March 20, 2014)
News story, "Ted Cruz talks about health care, Syrian conflict in Valley," San Antonio Express-News, Sept. 3, 2013
Emails, Catherine Frazier, press secretary, Sen. Ted Cruz, March 20, 2014
News story, "Cruz, Paul address religious leaders in Des Moines," the Associated Press, July 19, 2013
Commentary, "Ted Cruz wows Iowa pastors, Republican voters in first visit to Hawkeye State," Wayne Slater, Dallas Morning News, posted online July 19, 2014
News story, "Ted Cruz delivers stemwinder at Iowa’s Reagan Dinner," Politico, Oct. 25, 2013
News story, "Cruz: No regrets over Obamacare staredown; The likely 2016 candidate tells Iowa Republicans that his fight energized the debate on the health care act," Omaha World-Herald, Oct. 26, 2013 (Nexis search)
News blog post, "Ted Cruz: returning to Iowa, threatening to block debt ceiling hike," Dallas Morning News, Feb. 11, 2014
News story, "Ted Cruz talks religious liberty with Iowa home-schoolers, demurs on 2016 plans," Dallas Morning News, March 18, 2014
News story, "Summit pushes for action from social conservatives," Ames Tribune, Aug. 10, 2013
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