Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, currently in second place in the race to win the Republican presidential nomination, will visit Schenectady County Thursday morning.
Schenectady County Republican Committee Chairman Michael Cuevas confirmed Tuesday that Cruz will speak at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Mekeel Christian Academy on Sacandaga Road in Scotia.
“We’ve been talking to his people about him coming here, and Mekeel Academy was gracious enough to accommodate us,” said Cuevas. “He will probably just be here for the morning, and we assume he has other stops to make around the state.”
Cuevas was hoping Cruz might attend the Schenectady County Republican’s Lincoln Dinner next Tuesday at the Stockade Inn in Schenectady, but those plans didn’t materialize.
“So many people want to hear him, and we couldn’t squeeze them all into one of our dinner events,” explained Cuevas. “So, we looked for a bigger venue. Mekeel Academy has a new gym, it seats about 800 people with their bleachers, so we might be able to get 1,000 in there.”
Cuevas also announced Tuesday that he had informed Cruz’s campaign on Sunday night that he would endorse the Texas senator. Cuevas had originally endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. In polling of likely New York Republican primary voters, Cruz is in third place with 19 percent of the vote, lagging behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 21.3 percent and Donald Trump with 53.3 percent.
“I’m only speaking for myself, but with Rubio suspending his campaign I feel that Cruz is the lone conservative candidate remaining in the race,” said Cuevas. “I feel he best expresses the proper vision for this country. I agree with him on national security, his path toward prosperity for all and the tax policies that will bring relief to millions of middle-class Americans.”
Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzlee hasn’t endorsed anyone for president yet, but he’s happy to have Cruz in his neighborhood on Thursday.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have him coming here to Glenville,” said Koetzlee. “We’re very excited about it, and it’s great that New York is going to be relevant in the primary election and that the town of Glenville will be ground center for his visit here.”
Koetzle said he will endorse one of the three remaining Republicans in the field before the April 19 primary in New York.
“I hear rumors that Trump might be coming, so we’re going to meet him and give him the opportunity to be heard and then make a decision,” he said.
Koetzle said officials are expecting a big turnout for Thursday’s event. To help deal with any parking issues, there will be shuttle buses leaving from Maalwyck Park in Glenville and the Immaculate Conception Church on Route 50 in Glenville to take people to the school.
“It’s a beautiful new gym, and if you can’t find any parking we will have shuttle buses leaving between 9 and 9:30 from two different locations,” said Koetzle. “The doors at Mekeel Academy will open at 9:30.”
Heading into Tuesday’s primary in Wisconsin, an open contest where the winner claimed all 42 delegates, Trump had 737 delegates. Cruz was next with 475, with Rubio owning 171 delegates and Kasich 143.
Among New York Republican primary voters, Trump has a substantial lead over Cruz and Kasich, who are in a tight fight for second place. While Kasich has a slim lead in an average of the New York polls, Cruz holds a narrow margin in the CBS News Poll over Kasich (21-20 percent) and in the Quinnipiac Poll (20-19 percent).
“There very well could be some more appearances, but nothing is confirmed yet,” said Cuevas, referring to the possibility that Trump or Kasich will bring their campaigns to Schenectady County. “I think everyone is expecting the other candidates to be in the area before next Tuesday, but we know nothing for sure yet.”
A previous version of this story gave the wrong location for Maalwyck Park, which is in Glenville.