It looks like Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz loves Jesse Helms. Speaking to the Heritage Foundation he said:
This is a remark that will light up the hearts of Southern Republican activists. After all, Helms was one of the first Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate from the South. His use of hot button issues like race, abortion, and gay rights made him a darling of religious conservatives.
Comments like this are also something that will scare the crap out of party leaders on the West Coast, Great Lakes states, and North East. Why? They know Helms’ brand of conservatism is electoral poison with voters in those states. You think voters in Ohio want more people like Jesse Helms in the Senate?
On many issues Helms made his mark on, particularly opposition to gay rights, the country as a whole has become more liberal. Any candidate who reminds voters of that part of the GOP is a non-starter with swing voters and moderates.
Look for Cruz to keep saying more stuff like this to both excite the base and terrify the rest of the party.