The father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stumped for his son on Thursday night in front of a packed crowd at a campaign stop in Tyler.

“America is at a crossroads, and Texas is ground zero,” Rafael Cruz told the crowd. “The Democrats are doing all they can to turn Texas blue. We are not going to let that happen.”

The Smith County Young Republicans sponsored the event at Palio's Pizza Café on South Broadway Avenue. Earlier in the day, the campaign made a similar stop in Longview.

Rafael Cruz is an ordained minister. He is also a Cuban immigrant who came to the United States in 1957, two years before Fidel Castro took power in Cuba.

“The Democratic platform is without a doubt the most evil document I’ve read in my entire life,” he said. “I’ve seen the other side, and it ain’t pretty. Don’t believe the lies of socialism.”

He said Democrats “are just overwhelmingly committed to turning Texas blue. We cannot let that happen, but we can’t just win. We need to win by such an overwhelming amount that we will send them all back to California.”

One way to achieve that goal is to motivate young people to come to the polls. He said Nov. 6 will be a “turnout election” and urged supporters not to take anything for granted.

“I see a lot of young people here and praise God for you because you are the future of America,” Rafael Cruz said. “Unfortunately if you’re in the universities across America, you’re being brainwashed.”

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, also urged the crowd to vote for Cruz in his re-election campaign against U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso. The most recent poll shows Cruz leading O’Rourke by 5 percentage points, according to the Texas Tribune.

“If we have a Democrat represent Texas as a senator, he’s (President Donald Trump) in big trouble,” Gohmert said. “We lose a seat. We can’t do that.

“Nobody can get to feeling safe or comfortable," he said. “Everybody’s got to work. We’ve all got to help. We have got the best senatorial candidate in the country — in the country.”

Sen. Cruz said O’Rourke is running against him to the “hard left.” He criticized O’Rourke’s stances on immigration issues, homeland security and the congressman’s “single-most anti-Israel record of anybody” in Congress.

“We are being outraised more than 2-to-1, and it’s because the hard left is so angry,” Sen. Cruz said. He said O’Rourke is raising more money than any other Democratic candidate for Senate across the nation.

“This is dangerous, and this election comes down to one word: turnout,” Sen. Cruz said. “If you value your freedom, if you want your constitutional liberties, No. 1, show up in November. But No. 2, bring your friends, bring your family.”

Sen. Cruz said the mainstream media likes O’Rourke, but East Texas is the bedrock of conservative Texas, and he said it’s important to keep it that way.

“There are 50 states in this country, but there’s only one Texas,” he said.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinmansfield

Government Reporter

Erin came to Tyler from Vermont, where she worked for VTDigger.org and previously the Rutland Herald. She received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school.

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