A new super PAC called “Stand For Principle” was formed three days after the midterm elections to support a potential presidential bid by Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 with the support of his close friend and former University roommate David Panton ’92.
Panton confirmed his involvement with Stand for Principle to The Daily Princetonian and added that he hopes Cruz will choose to run for president.
“I sincerely hope that Ted will run for president because I believe he offers the bold, principled, consistent conservative leadership that America needs,” Panton wrote in an email during a trip to Israel.
Cruz, who was the first Latino person to be elected from Texas to Congress, is currently serving his first term as a Republican Senator from Texas. Cruz also served as Solicitor General in Texas, and was the youngest person ever to hold the position of Solicitor General in the United States.
Super PACs are political action committees allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money to support or defeat a political candidate. However, super PACs are independent from official political campaigns and are not allowed to coordinate with political candidates themselves. Despite the rule, super PACs have often been run in the past by individuals who are personally close to the candidates they support.
Maria Strollo Zack, a Georgia based business executive, head of The Strollo Group and a political lobbyist, filed paperwork forming the “Stand for Principle” Super PAC with the Federal Elections Commission last week.
Cruz is aware of the Super PAC’s formation, Zack said in an interview with the 'Prince,' but she noted that she has not spoken with Cruz since filing to form Stand for Principle.
She has previously been involved in the political campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee.
“Senator Cruz embodies the spirit and leadership that the country needs,” Zack said.
The Super PAC will work to educate people about Cruz's positions and why he should be president, Zack told US News.
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Stand for Principle is not a draft PAC because it does not bear the name of the candidate it supports, but Zack confirmed that Stand for Principle was formed to promote Cruz politically.
Zack told the Daily Mail last week that the group hopes to have raised $50 million by Super Tuesday at the end of March 2016.
Super Tuesday is the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to send delegates to the national party convention.
Though Cruz has not officially announced his intention to run for president, US News reported shortly after the midterm elections that he is looking for office space to set up campaign headquarters in Houston.
Zack explained that Panton became involved with the PAC soon after they met through a business connection. Zack said that Panton had expressed his interest in the political process and in doing something to help Cruz should he move forward in a presidential bid.
Panton and Cruz were roommates at Princeton and at Harvard Law School, Panton said.
Both roommates were involved in various campus political organizations during their time at the University, Panton said, noting that Cruz was chairman of the Princeton Undergraduate Council and chairman of the Cliosophic Society, while Panton was president of the Undergraduate Student Government.
The two were also on the American Parliamentary Debate Association Team.
Their years at the University were the beginning of a lifelong friendship, Panton said, adding that he was Cruz’s best man at his wedding and that Cruz is the godfather to Panton’s son, Alex.
Panton also confirmed his role in choosing the name of the Super PAC and added that he has donated to it and other PACs supporting Cruz before.
He has previously donated to Club for Growth, which supported Cruz in his Senate bid, and Ted Cruz for Senate.
Panton added that the Super PAC was selected because he believes it communicates Cruz’s personal attributes of consistency and willingness to stand for his convictions.
“At Princeton, Ted was a great friend who was both kind and generous to me and many others," Panton said in the email. "He is the most brilliant person I know, and also the most compassionate. I believe passionately that he is a bold, principled, consistent, conservative leader, which is what America needs."
Zack added that she too hopes Cruz will seriously consider running for president.
“Princeton should be very proud to have someone of Senator Cruz’s talent and skill as a graduate," Zack said. "He is a candidate that has worked in all three branches of government, which is highly unusual and very valuable"