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Cruz speaks at Indiana GOP Spring Dinner

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz outlined his plan to reform the country in front of a sold crowd at the Indiana GOP Spring Dinner.

“This next election, I believe, will focus on three key issues: jobs, freedom and security,” he said at the beginning of his speech at the Primo Banquet Hall.

GOP Chairman Jeff Cardwell said he believes it’s the first time a presidential candidate has ever accepted the invite to the dinner. With more than 800 guests in the hall, Senator Cruz used quotes from the movie “Hoosiers” to try to win them over. He then made one jab at opponent Donald Trump.

“It’s easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap,” he said. Cruz backed up the phrase by explaining how he would make America great again through jobs, freedom and security.

“We will stop amnesty and secure the borders and end sanctuary cities and end welfare benefits for those here illegally,” he said.

Unlike Trump during his visit to Indy Wednesday, Senator Cruz didn’t directly mention Carrier, the HVAC company that plans to move hundreds of jobs from Indiana to Mexico. But he made his point clear about employment in America.

“We’re going to see millions of new, high-paying jobs. We’re going to see jobs coming back to America, we’re going to see manufacturing jobs coming back from China, coming back from Mexico, coming back to the state of Indiana,” he said.

Many of the republican politicians in the crowd were excited to hear Senator Cruz speak but they stopped short of saying which presidential candidate they support, all of them except Governor Mike Pence.

“I’m here to announce tonight, I’m for anybody but Hillary and Bernie Sanders,” Gov. Pence said to a raucous applause. “Any Republican in the White House would be infinitely better than either one of the Democratic candidates.”

That theme resonated with other speakers including Senator Cruz. He talked about how he would remove the Affordable Care Act, pass a fiscal flat tax, and abolish the IRS.

“The longest lasting legacy of Barack Obama is going to be the new generation of leaders in the Republican Party who stand and fight for liberty, who stand and fight for the Constitution, and who stand and fight for the Judeo-Christian values that built this great nation,” Senator Cruz said.

Earlier in the evening, House Speaker Brian Bosma talked about how it was exciting to have a presidential candidate at the dinner, but also how the race for the Republican nomination would hinge on Indiana.

“Indiana is important. It’s the heartland, it has a significant number of delegates and even when the nomination is already decided, it’s still an important state in the entire nominating process,” Bosma said. “With it being so close and so up in the air, Indiana will really make a difference with this nomination it’s great to excite the people to come out to the primary.”

Senator Cruz’s press secretary said the Republican presidential candidate would be back in Indiana as soon as Saturday, however she didn’t say if it would be for a rally or town hall type event.