Students, faculty rally for Cruz

James Vaughn, Megan Thorne


Gabi Wy

A young girl jumps with her Ted Cruz poster at the Sunday evening rally.

Freshman Kyle Duggan said unlike in the past, Indiana could have a real impact in the primary election this year.

The business administration major stood near the press tables at the Old National Events Plaza downtown Sunday, his hand on his chin as he observed fellow Ted Cruz supporters. He had never been to a rally before.

“States like us don’t usually get a huge say in the primaries, but we’re getting more of a say now,” Duggan said. “Now, the delegates count as it’s going to be very close.”

He said he’s positive he’s voting for Cruz.

“I like his firm stance on international relations, his domestic policies and that he’s going to cut expenses,” Duggan said. “Also, it never hurts that he opposes Trump.”

As a Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz became the third member of his family to visit Evansville on the campaign trail. His visit follows that of his father and his wife.

“I am here today with a word of hope and encouragement,” the Texas senator said. “Help is on the way.”

Cruz’s crowd

Seating at the Events Plaza was planned for 700, but the event quickly turned into standing room only.

Only a gate stood between Riley Guerzini’s group and Cruz as the politician entered the crowd.

The current Castle High School senior and incoming journalism major said he attended the rally as a way to find out more about Cruz.

“I was really interested in Cruz’s message back when he was running in Iowa,” Guerzini said. ”Since then, I’ve wanted to see what he’s all about.”

He has yet to decide who he’s voting for this election.

“I wanted to see what values Cruz has and if they match up with mine,” Guerzini said. “If he passes that test, then I’ll vote for him.”

Senior marketing major David Horner came to the rally as a firm Cruz supporter.

“I like Ted Cruz because he’s conservative and believes in the Constitution,” he said. “I believe he’s our best chance to get a Republican into the White House.”

He said it was his first time attending a political rally.

‘It wasn’t too crazy’

Angela Rudibaugh sat to the left of the stage.

The criminal justice studies adjunct instructor attended the rally with her husband, who sat beside her and applauded Cruz several times with the rest of the attendees during the rally.

“I like that (the rally) wasn’t too crazy, and people stood up and they got into the (issues) they were passionate about,” she said.

Personally, Rudibaugh doesn’t talk politics with others unless they ask.

“I think everybody has a right to support any candidate,” she said. “If anyone ever asks me about mine, I will tell my opinion.”

Rudibaugh said she supports Cruz because of his strong values in the Constitution and freedom.

Cruz spoke about multiple topics during his 34 minutes speech including small businesses, religious liberty and current democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

He said he would not be afraid to debate with Clinton, but his current opponent, Donald Trump, is.

“If I am the nominee,” he said,“we will beat Hillary Clinton.”

Cruz brought up Trump multiple times during his speech, including while he discussed transgender men’s and women’s rights regarding restrooms.

“If Donald Trump dresses up as Hillary Clinton, he won’t be allowed to use the girl’s restroom,” Cruz said. “I apologize for the image.”

Cruz said it is a bad idea to let grown men into the bathroom with little girls.

The topic has reached the forefront of debate among the public. Target recently announced it would let customers use the bathroom that aligned with their gender identity.

This is political correctness on steroids, he said.

Cruz also called for a debate to take place in Indiana. He said the United States is looking to Indiana, which has a megaphone and a platform for its primary.

As he left the stage, Cruz blessed the crowd in God’s name. Supporters stayed near the stage’s gates for one last chance to shake his hand.

The Indiana primary is May 3.

Sarah Loesch and Bobby Shipman contributed to this story.