Ted Cruz’s Podcast Comes Under Fire

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Sen. Ted Cruz’s reelection bid is heating up over his podcast, Verdict.

Rep. Collin Allred, who is running for the Democratic nomination to unseat Cruz in November, is aiming to make the Texas senator’s show a political liability in the race.

Last week, Allred renewed his criticisms about Cruz’s various media projects and appearances, arguing that Texans should elect him to the Senate and “let Ted Cruz live his dream of being a full-time talking head.”

So far, Allred, a former NFL player turned civil rights lawyer, had led the polls in Texas’ Democratic primary. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a progressive who has attacked Allred’s bipartisan record, is polling closely behind, but the plurality of voters remain undecided.

“Texans deserve a senator who cares more about serving them than being a media personality,” Allred’s campaign manager Paige Hutchinson told Newsweek on Friday. “Whether it’s podcasting three to five times a week, constant cable news appearances, or peddling his own books, Ted Cruz has proven time and time again he only cares about himself.”

In response, the senator’s campaign defended Cruz’s podcast, Verdict with Ted Cruz, saying it’s a project that he pursues in his spare time to “bring attention to the most important issues affecting Texas and our country that the media neglects to cover fairly.”

Although Cruz is not the only lawmaker with a podcast, his show has the most regularly scheduled programming. Verdict releases three episodes a week, each ranging between 30 minutes to an hour.

“If Colin Allred wants to continue broadcasting that he is insecure about someone’s multitasking ability, we enthusiastically encourage him to continue doing so,” a Cruz spokesperson told Newsweek.

Allred’s team declined Newsweek‘s request to respond to the senator’s campaign.

Although it remains unclear which Democrat will ultimately come out on top and face off against Cruz in the general election, either of the candidates will face tough odds.

Democrats have not won statewide office in Texas in three decades and surveys suggest that Cruz would outperform both Allred and Gutierrez in a hypothetical matchup. A new University of Houston poll shows Cruz defeating Allred, with 48 percent of the vote to 39 percent, and Gutierrez, with 48 percent to 38 percent.

Nonetheless, the race in Texas will be closely watched as Democrats hope to replicate the gains that Beto O’Rourke made in 2018. O’Rourke ultimately lost to Cruz by fewer than 3 percentage points, making it the closest Senate race in Texas since 1978.

Sen. Ted Cruz on November 6, 2023. in New York City. Cruz’s podcast is under criticism from a potential Democratic opponent Rep. Colin Allred.

Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Allred has criticized Cruz over his podcast in the past. On Thursday, he told MSNBC’s Chris Haynes that the senator was an inefficient legislator, saying, “You’ll never see him apart of those negotiations.

“He won’t be rolling up his sleeves and trying to figure out a compromise on how we can legislate to move forward. This is what he does, he goes on podcasts, he goes on cable news and that is what he does.”

In March, Allred said of Cruz, “He’s a content machine, he’s not a legislative machine.”

Cruz, who started his podcast during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, has defended his show, arguing that it’s a better medium to reach voters and that many people found his content “valuable.”

“If you go do a TV hit, which I do every week, you’re on for six, eight minutes. You have a soundbite or two, and there’s value to that, but you can’t really sit down and explain an issue in substance,” Cruz told Insider in May. “What I like about the podcast is sometimes the podcast is 20-30 minutes, sometimes it’s an hour, depends on what the issue is.”

“[The show] became the number one ranked podcast in the world at the time, because people found it valuable to understand what was happening in the Senate,” he said. “That is not somehow peripheral to doing the job. It is integral to doing the job.”