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Ted Cruz doesn’t expect a Republican primary challenge in 2018

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a RedState Gathering at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 8, 2014. Cruz said Thursday he does not expect a primary challenger in 2018.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a RedState Gathering at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 8, 2014. Cruz said Thursday he does not expect a primary challenger in 2018. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz spent his first four years in the Senate making enemies — even among fellow Republicans — but he said Thursday that he didn’t expect a primary challenge in 2018.

“I don’t see anyone who’s likely to run,” Cruz said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, adding “at this point I don’t expect” a Republican primary opponent.

In October, The Texas Tribune reported that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry had encouraged Republican Rep. Michael McCaul to challenge Cruz in the primary. But a lot has changed since October.

Donald Trump won the election, putting Cruz’s presidential aspirations on hold. Perry was tapped as Trump’s energy secretary nominee and McCaul was considered as Trump’s secretary of homeland security.

The field of Texas Republicans with statewide clout who could challenge Cruz appears to be shrinking.

In a wide-ranging interview with Hewitt, Cruz also addressed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying he “did enormous damage to the United States.”

Trump appeared to support Assange’s assertion that Russians had not given the WikiLeaks founder the information that led to thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta being released.

Trump also agreed with Assange that U.S. media coverage is “very dishonest.”

But Cruz said Thursday morning that he couldn’t imagine saying anything good about Assange.

Cruz, a vehement opponent of the Obama administration’s stance on Israel, continued to disparage a recent United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements that the United States allowed to pass.

“There’s a reason Obama did this after the election, because he didn’t want the American people to hold him accountable,” Cruz said in a radio interview with Larry O’Connor on Wednesday. “The Obama administration orchestrated the United Nations moving against Israel and adopting a rabidly anti-Israel resolution.”

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty

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