MANCHESTER, N.H. — In his final pitch to voters ahead of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz compared the state’s current media circus to the plague.
“We’re in the final sprint now,” Cruz told a packed VFW hall. “New Hampshire, a little over 24 hours from now, the primary will be over. Suddenly, this quadrennial pestilence that descends upon this state will migrate south.”
It was a joke, of course. And Cruz was in a good mood as he campaigned down to the wire, because it’s more fun in politics to be on offense than defense.
Real estate magnate Donald Trump is widely expected to finish first here, and Cruz is part of a five-man pileup for second place. But what separates him from his leading rivals for that runner-up spot — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio — is urgency.
Those other candidates need to show a strong performance to assert their viability. With his Iowa win a week ago, Cruz has already proved his campaign’s mettle.
And so, Tuesday evening, Cruz is expected to finish anywhere between second and sixth place.
The race is so scrambled here that, as a snowstorm blew in Monday, prompting concerns that it could depress turnout, it wasn’t even clear whom that would hurt or help.
Even so, Cruz urged the audience at a Tea Party event to brave the elements.
“At this point, it’s all about turnout. That’s the whole game. Turnout. Particularly, if it’s snowing outside. If it keeps snowing, it’ll be easier not to show up and vote tomorrow.”
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