Ted Cruz Has Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Grandstanding in Kentucky

Senator Ted Cruz went to Kentucky on Wednesday to get in on the spectacle. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis had been tossed in jail for contempt of court after refusing to perform her legal duty — issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in this case — and dadgummit, Cruz was going to visit the woman he called the first American Christian imprisoned for practicing her faith.

"Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith — or be sent to jail," Cruz said. "Kim Davis should not be in jail. We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, founded by those fleeing religious oppression and seeking a land where we could worship God and live according to our faith, without being imprisoned for doing so."

Then, much to Cruz chagrin, we're sure, Davis got out before the senator's visit, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Things were about to get even worse for the Lone Star State's last viable presidential candidate.

Cruz showed up at the jail as Davis was being processed for release. As he came out to speak to the press, according to The New York Times, an aide to Cruz's fellow presidential candidate Mike Huckabee blocked his path. Shortly thereafter, Davis exited the jail with Huckabee. When the time came for the clerk to take the stage at a preplanned rally, Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, was onstage with Davis. Cruz was left to mope side-stage.  Cruz will not leave the Bluegrass State entirely empty-handed, despite being thoroughly outplayed throughout this whole ordeal by Huckabee and his staff, who've reportedly been on the ground in Kentucky for days. He managed to get a photo with Davis and her husband, at least. 
Cruz may get a second chance soon. Davis' release did come with the condition that she not stop her deputies from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. If she does, she could end up right back in jail.

“Defendant Davis shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples,” Judge David Bunning said in releasing the clerk. “If Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this order and appropriate sanctions will be considered.” 

Wednesday, Cruz will take his act to Washington, where he, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin will headline a rally against the Iran nuclear deal.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young