By Jonathan Easley
CLEVELAND — Two controversial figures on the right met late Wednesday night over drinks to plot a primary challenge to Ted Cruz after the Texas senator refused to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican convention here.
Renegade GOP operative Roger Stone said he and Infowars founder Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist, are planting the seeds to ensure Cruz is sent packing from Washington when his first term ends in 2018.
“We’re actively looking for a candidate,” Stone told The Hill.
The Hill asked Stone, a longtime Trump ally and conservative agitator, if he would consider Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who lost a primary challenge to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) in 2014.
Stone said he’d rather recruit Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who backed Cruz in the primary and hosted fundraisers for him.
“He’d be my choice, but in all honesty, anybody who is registered in the Republican Party in Texas would be better than Ted Cruz,” he said.
Patrick has fallen in line behind Trump as the presidential nominee since his initial endorsement of Cruz, and spokesman Allen Blakemore told The Hill that he is “flattered” but “not interested” in running for Senate.
“He loves being Lt. Governor, living in Texas, and having 4 grandkids 20 minutes from his home,” Blakemore said in an email.
“He is not interested in running for the U.S. Senate. He is committed to doing all he can to help Donald Trump become President.”
Stone called Cruz a “dumb son of a bitch” and a “butt boy for the Bushes disguising himself as a conservative.”
“I’m not a fan,” Stone concluded.
Trump allies are furious with Cruz for refusing to back the nominee in his speech before the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.
The Texas senator was booed off the stage after telling the crowd, “vote your conscience.”
At a breakfast with the Texas delegation on Thursday morning, Cruz argued that he could not support a man who personally attacked his wife and father during the primaries.
Peter Schroeder and Ben Kamisar contributed.