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Ted Cruz brings message of strict constitutionalism to Oklahoma

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Ted Cruz talks to press

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks to the press before his campaign speech in the capitol. The presidential hopeful and junior Texas senator spoke at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City Sunday Feb. 28.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has brought the issue of selecting Supreme Court justices to the forefront of his campaign, but it may not be enough to woo millennial voters.

Cruz, who was the Solicitor General of Texas prior to running for Senate, said the presidential election will change two branches of government following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Every justice I put on the court will be faithful to the Constitution and will defend the Bill of Rights,” Cruz said at his rally Sunday.

“We are one justice away from the Supreme Court concluding that your religious liberty can be taken away,” Cruz said. “We are one liberal justice away from the Supreme Court effectively erasing the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights.”  

Tyler Stewart, a computer science major at the University of Central Oklahoma, said Cruz's strict interpretation of the Constitution is what brought him to the rally.

"The Constitution is the Constitution. If you’re not upholding the Constitution, then you’re doing something wrong," Stewart said.

Cruz's promise to defend the Constitution was cited by television and radio personality Glenn Beck at the beginning of the rally. He has been campaigning with Cruz since he endorsed the senator in January. 

"We're here for the Constitution of the United States of America. That's what will make America great again," Beck said.

Stanton Lackey, a 2013 OU graduate, said he was focused on the national debt. Lackey said he approved of the Constitution, but he mainly wanted to see it respected. 

"I think progressives have some ideals that are different than the Constitution and that’s fine if they have those ideals," he said. "They’re welcome to assemble a committee and change the Constitution. I don’t think that just writing laws that circumvent the Constitution is the way to go."

Zach Milloy, 19, from Stillwater, said he liked Cruz's defense of the Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment.

“I believe that we weren’t given the second amendment so that we have the freedom to hunt,” Milloy said.

However, this wasn't enough to make him an avid supporter. Milloy said he attended the event because his brother is a big Cruz fan. 

Cruz's defense of the Constitution also was not enough to earn him the support of Alabama's Jeff Sessions. Sessions, who had previously campaigned with Cruz, endorsed businessman Donald Trump Sunday, with the news breaking during Glenn Beck's speech early in the rally.

A poll from The Oklahoman released last week had Cruz running third in Oklahoma, trailing Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Erich Eden, 18, from Harrah High School, said he agrees with Cruz on the Second Amendment, but that it's not enough to make him a supporter. Instead, he's supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying Cruz's opposition to the EPA and his wife’s connections to Wall Street are more worrisome than a weakening of the Second Amendment.

“They’re always talking about how the Democrats are trying to take away all of their guns and destroy the Second Amendment, but I’ve never heard any Democrats say that they want to take away anyone’s guns,” Eden said.

Derek Peterson is a journalism senior and sports reporter for the Daily.

Jesse Pound is a journalism and economics senior and the Editor in Chief of The Daily. He has previously worked as a business intern at The Oklahoman and The San Antonio Express-News.

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