NEW ORLEANS (CBS Houston) — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says many Republicans run “Soviet-style” campaigns.

Speaking to reporters at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans Saturday, Cruz said it is very odd that his GOP peers would run these style of campaigns.

“A lot of Republican tend to have top-down, Soviet-style campaigns,” Cruz said. “It’s very odd for a party that believes in the free market that they run campaigns through command and … centralized control.”

Cruz feels that these types of campaigns are “disempowering.”

“And so they have the politiburo, ‘You will go do that. You will go do that.’ And that is disempowering and it doesn’t inspire,” Cruz told reporters. What is far more effective is having a race on empowering the grassroots.”

He then told reporters he modeled his 2012 Senate campaign after President Barack Obama’s 2008 primary race against Hillary Clinton.

“Because Hillary, at the time, was just like my opponent and almost impossible to beat—incumbent with all the money and all the infrastructure, all the party bosses,” Cruz stated. “What Obama did in 2008 is the most remarkable political feats in modern times. He ran a grassroots, gorilla, scrappy campaign that had — in young people in particular — empowered. It was their fight. And you didn’t have some campaign guru telling him what to say.”

Cruz’s comments came the same day he won the conference’s 2016 presidential straw poll.

Cruz took 30 percent of the vote, edging out conservative speaker and author Ben Carson.

Organizers at the annual conference say about a third out of 1,500 delegates voted in the straw poll. Delegates had to pay to register for the conference and vote in the straw poll.

Cruz promised delegates Saturday to continue his uncompromising approach on Capitol Hill.

Carson did not address delegates before the voting.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Gov. Rick Perry trailed Cruz and Carson in the poll.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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