NEW HAMPTON, Iowa—Sen. Ted Cruz calls him a “knife fighter.”
Wrapping up his six-day bus tour across Iowa, where he visited 28 counties, the Iowa caucus front-runner was joined by Rep. Steve King, who, for the first time in eight years, made an endorsement in the state's caucuses.
Since endorsing Cruz in mid-November, King—who mocked undocumented Mexicans as having “calves the size of cantaloupes” used to carry drugs across the border and has been an outspoken anti-immigrant leader in the Republican Party—has been an avid supporter and mainstay at his events in a state that has a quickly growing Latino population of 5.6 percent.
Around the same time Cruz started his bus tour across Iowa, he launched a television ad that calls illegal immigration an “economic calamity” and in which he vows to triple security on the Mexican border. King’s presence on the trail could give Cruz an edge in the immigration debate in Iowa, which has so far been dominated by Donald Trump, who entered into the Republican presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and saying that Mexico would pay for a wall on the border.
On Saturday, King introduced Cruz to crowds of 200 or more at each event, stuffed into restaurants and auditoriums after braving single-digit temperatures normal for January in the Hawkeye State. He talked about the Constitution, the Founding Founders, and “restoring the soul of America” with such emphasis that it elicited an mmm-hmm or amen from several members of the audience.