AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — While Bernie Sanders’ rally Monday evening filled Alumni Arena, with thousands of people to spare, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s arrival to campus Thursday is expected to be a decidedly smaller gathering.
“I don’t know if Ted Cruz has a strong grasp among college kids, especially since we know most of them like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump,” said UB junior Reed Tighe,
But the passion among students like Tighe, who’s also treasurer of UB’s College Republican, is the same.
“There’s definitely a lot of talk on campus because of these candidates who are running,” he said.
But people like Tighe and co-Cruz supporter Ruth Kelley admit they’re the minority of the minority.
“I think how he wants to protect conservative values is really important,” Tighe said. “I feel like our country is going a little too far to the left, and he wants to stop that.”
Kelley said sometimes being a conservative on campus can be difficult. ‘
“A lot of people come to attack you, and say why do you like this candidate, he stands for so many of the wrong reasons,” Kelley said. “Well, he stands for the wrong reasons for you. For me he’s the perfect candidate.”
“I love that he’s a strong constitutionalist,” she said. “I love that he bases a lot of his campaign on religion and how he feels.”
Kelley, a practicing Episcopalian, believes Cruz’s focus on religion sets him apart.
“Ted Cruz uses religion, he’s so down to earth and he’s so honest about how he feels,” she said.
Cruz is often thought of as the evangelical candidate. But in the most recent Quinnipac poll, Cruz and Trump were nearly equal, at least within the margin of error.
According to the April 6 poll: “Among likely Republican primary voters, Trump leads among every group, from Tea Party members to moderate to liberal Republicans, among men and women and voters of every age group and in every region of the state.”
“I feel as though Donald Trump uses religion,” Kelley said. “He’s not genuine about religion. It’s for attention, it’s just for the media.”
Thursday’s rally takes place at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on campus, a venue that holds up to 350 people. Details for tickets, or whether the general public would be invited, weren’t known late Tuesday.