DAVENPORT, Iowa — Bidding to seal the deal with Iowans, Sen. Ted Cruz made stops in eastern Iowa while keeping an eye on Sen. Marco Rubio, who has gained ground in polling over the past week.
At events in Iowa City and Davenport before a late night event in Des Moines, Cruz stuck to his script, delivering his stump speech almost verbatim while receiving backup from Glenn Beck, "Duck Dynasty"'s Phil Robertson, Rep. Steve King, and his wife Heidi Cruz.
Cruz's campaign remained on defense over a mailer that emerged Friday assessing phony "voting violations" in a get-out-the-vote effort. Cruz backers worked to redirect attention Sunday to a mailer that Rubio's campaign sent out to voters.
"I sent a text out to the secretary of state and asked him how long it would be until he would release a similar statement, an official statement from the secretary of state's office as he did on the Cruz mailer to inform the public on what's out there with the Rubio mailer," King told the Washington Examiner after Cruz's event in Iowa City. "I expect him to, and if it was done for objective reasons when it was Cruz I would think that he would be obligated to issue a similar, identical statement when it's Rubio."
Cruz's flier, however, was more pointed than the Florida senator's. It included the name and voting grades of recepient's neighbors. It was titled a "voting violation."
The flap comes days after the Cruz campaign redirected their ads from focusing on Trump to Rubio, who's up to 15 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling average. Cruz is currently second in the Examiner's presidential power rankings, with Rubio in third.
While the Cruz campaign worries about Rubio, Cruz upporters directed ire at Trump, who leads in the RealClearPolitics average with 24 hours until the caucuses kick off.
Some Cruz fans said they supported Trump, but turned against him in recent weeks after his myriad of attacks against the Texas senator.
"I liked Trump until a couple of weeks ago. He's just getting too personal. At first I wanted to have a Trump/Cruz. That would have been my ideal ticket. Now it's Cruz all the way," said Todd Nauman, 42, from Iowa City. "I hate the Canadian thing. I don't like the whole thing about him being owned by the banks. How many banks has Donald Trump been with? How many affiliations does he have business partnerships with? As soon as he starts getting hit in the general [election] with this stuff, his numbers are going to go down."
Others took to heart Cruz's argument that Trump would be quick to compromise with Democrats.
"I'm not interested in Trump. I knew that Donald Trump is a great businessman," said Jamie McAllister, 46 from Marion, who's set to be a caucus leader Monday. "Donald Trump will be politics as usual and there'd be winners and losers, and he'd be determining those winners and losers. I don't like the fact that he doesn't stand for anything. He's standing for 'I'm going to make America great again.' It really sounds a lot to me like 'Hope and Change' from Obama in 2008."
"I don't think he's got all of his positions down," McAllister continued. "I believe he could change with the crowd that he is in front of, and I don't believe he is a principled man from his gut. I do believe that with Ted Cruz."
Cruz is set to hold events in Jefferson and Marion Monday ahead of a caucus-night watch party in Des Moines Monday.