Although the language of politics is often spoken in hyperbole, Rafael Cruz said he considers Brownwood ground zero in the battle for his son Ted Cruz’s senate seat.

Rafael Cruz spoke to dozens inside the Brownwood Country Club dining room while campaigning during his son’s senate race, highlighting how even the staunchest Republican strongholds must show up to the polls in order to fend off the strongest Democratic challenge in recent memory.

“America is the last bastion of freedom in the world and Texas is America on steroids. If we lose Texas, then we lose America. This is ground zero,” Cruz said. “… We need to make sure next time around, when the legislature convenes in January, it’s going to be much stronger, conservative and we’re finally going to get the right bills passed in both houses.” 

Brownwood was Cruz’s third stop of the day, riding from campaign stop to campaign stop in their self-style “Cruz Cruiser.” While speaking to the crowd, which included Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes and Texas Rep. Mike Lang, Cruz told anecdotes of growing up in communist Cuba, his views of the current state of politics and the importance of remembering the lives lost on the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

“It was one of the most cowardly events that anyone could do; the murder of over 3,000 innocent people,” Cruz said. “Then, we saw a repeat on Oct. 11, 2012, when we saw the embassy in Benghazi attacked and Ambassador Stephens and three other patriots were killed. The forces of evil are alive and trying to destroy us. That is why we must remain vigilant and remain strong.”

Although seemingly a timely campaign stop, Brown County GOP Chairman Robert Porter said the date was completely arbitrary and sprung up after he received a call from Ted Cruz’s cousin.

“I got a call in late June, maybe early July, from Bebe Loyola,” Porter said. “That’s Ted’s first cousin. She said ‘We would like to have an event in Brownwood. We would like for Ted’s father Rafael to speak.’ I said, ‘Put us down.’ We just had to look for the date and today was the day … They have been hitting the road hard for a long time and have a lot of work left to do until the November election.”