Bud Kennedy

This well-connected Texas Republican might challenge Ted Cruz — ‘to get things done’

North Richland Hills Republican Bruce Jacobson will decide whether to run against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
North Richland Hills Republican Bruce Jacobson will decide whether to run against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Life Outreach International

The strongest challenge to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2018 Texas re-election campaign might come from a Christian TV executive with a Republican legacy that goes back to President Ronald Reagan.

Bruce Jacobson, a vice president and executive producer for televangelist James Robison’s daily show “Life Today,” said Thursday he is “prayerfully considering” running in the March 6 primary because some lawmakers “are so wrapped up in their own political agenda they’ve lost track of who they were sent to serve.”

Cruz has spent 287 days — one-sixth of his term — running for president.

Jacobson, 57, of North Richland Hills, said “Ted Cruz is going to say enough about Ted Cruz,” but criticized anyone “using one political office to further another ambition.”

“What we need is now is somebody to get things done,” he said.

Jacobson, a White House staffer under Reagan and a regional appointee under President George H.W. Bush, had another campaign-ready line: “I was born in Texas. I was raised in Texas. I was educated in Texas.”

(Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada, but moved near Houston with his family at age 3. He graduated from high school in Houston, Princeton University in New Jersey and Harvard Law School in Massachusetts.)

Jacobson’s mother, the late Pat Jacobson, was one of Reagan’s first Texas fundraisers in 1976 and became regional chairwoman of his presidential campaigns. His father, Dr. Bruce Jacobson, co-founded a North Richland Hills hospital and made a brief 1989 run for Congress.

The younger Jacobson would enter the campaign with the presumed blessing of Robison, a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump and leader of an Inauguration Day prayer service.

Jacobson’s Twitter posts also include a photo of him with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a former Robison aide.

Jacobson was the guest for a Monday Southlake fundraiser by a Fort Worth-based super PAC, Texans For Texas. The PAC has reported $25,000 raised and $7,500 spent, including $5,000 to a Pittsburgh consulting firm that also worked for presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Jacobson would challenge Cruz’s strength in Tarrant County, the most reliably Republican urban county in the U.S. and the second largest mother lode of party voters after Harris County (Houston).

“The Jacobsons were very conservative Reagan Republicans early, but of course that was 40 years ago,” said former county party chairman Steve Hollern of Fort Worth.

“I don’t think he’s well-known now outside a small circle here. Cruz is still pretty strong.”

But back in 2012, Texas Republicans nominated an underdog Senate candidate who was a relative unknown: Ted Cruz.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, @BudKennedy.