By Adrianna Pitrelli
KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. — Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz made a bit of a foul play during a campaign stop in the famed “Hoosiers” basketball gym.
“The amazing thing is, that basketball ring in Indiana, it’s the same height as it is in New York City and every other place in this country,” he said, referencing the famous movie.
Typically, fans call the “basketball ring” a “hoop.”
But the 900 supporters in the Knightstown Hoosier Gym Tuesday night remained enthusiastic as the rally went on.
“I think [Cruz] has more backing in rural areas than he does in metropolitan areas,” Frank Craig of Knightstown said. “Because of this, I think he will make a great president.”
While most presidential candidates have been targeting large cities like Indianapolis and Bloomington, almost all of Cruz’s stops have been in smaller cities, including Tuesday night’s stop in Knightstown, a town with less than 2,500 residents.
“If Cruz goes to the smaller cities, it is showing that he doesn’t just care for certain parts of the state, he cares for the whole state in general – which is very important,” said Chase Stevens of Knightstown.
Cruz said he expected GOP frontrunner Donald Trump to have a good night in the five states with primaries on Tuesday. But Cruz ensured Hoosiers the campaign will move to more favorable terrain – Indiana.
Typically, a candidate has secured enough delegates to receive the nomination by this point in the election cycle. That means as a state with a late primary, Indiana’s delegates are not as important. This year, however, none of the Republican candidates have the majority of delegates needed, so Indiana is now in the spotlight. Cruz has high hopes for a win in the Hoosier state.
“Together the people of Indiana are going to send a powerful message to the Washington establishment,” Cruz said. “They are not going to decide the Republican nominee—it is going to be we the people.”
The similarities between Hillary Clinton and Trump were the main focus of Cruz’s speech, as he thinks Trump is truly a Democrat. Cruz explained 13 policies where he believes Clinton and Trump see eye to eye.
The economic status of America was at the top of Cruz’s list. According to Cruz, Clinton and Trump are in favor of raising taxes, but he said he would cut taxes.
“If I am president, we are going to cut taxes,” Cruz said. “My number one priority is bringing back jobs and economic growth.”
Cruz plans to fight every piece of Obamacare. He said he will stop amnesty and secure borders in sanctuary cities, as well as investigate Planned Parenthood. Cruz also expressed deep concern regarding foreign policy.
“We will stand with Israel,” Cruz said as the crowd went wild. “And as president, I will rip to shreds the nuclear Iranian deal.”
Marc Jacobs of Springfield, Illinois supports Cruz because of his ability to bring people together.
“The next president should be elected on his ability to bring people together to weed out and compost hatred into something more constructive,” Jacobs said.
Toward the end of the rally, a protestor started yelling at Cruz. Cruz said he believed the protestor was a Trump supporter.
“Trump does not understand the first amendment gives everyone the right to speak, but it does not give people the right to disrupt,” Cruz said.
He politely asked rally attendees to keep their hands off the protestor as law enforcement quickly escorted him out. But the protestor did not slow Cruz down.
“This election is about jobs, it is about freedom, it is about security,” Cruz said. “Thank you and God bless you!”
Cruz then left the stage and met with his supporters.
Adrianna Pitrelli is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.