Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee Head to Kentucky to Support Jailed Clerk Kim Davis

The two presidential candidates will end up in town the same day.

ByABC News
September 8, 2015, 10:52 AM

— -- Sen. Ted Cruz will head to Kentucky today to show his support for embattled Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

Cruz, the Texas Republican who has defended Davis, hopes to meet with the jailed clerk. Davis is being held in contempt of court for refusing to comply with a Supreme Court decision and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

She has said it goes against her religious beliefs to do so. Since then, her plight has been a rallying cry for some conservative presidential candidates that religious freedom is under assault.

“Sen. Cruz stands with Kim Davis and is committed to defending every American's First Amendment right to religious liberty. The First Amendment is foundational to all other freedoms we enjoy and it is tragic that in America today, our own citizens would have to worry about being targeted or arrested for merely living out their religious convictions,” an aide to Cruz’s presidential campaign said.

Cruz’s trip will occur on the same day that Mike Huckabee, one of Cruz’s rivals in the GOP presidential field, visits Kentucky and participates in a prayer rally in support of Davis. Huckabee and Cruz have been working on the campaign trail to appeal to Christian evangelical voters.

An aide to Cruz says the senator’s trip, while announced after Huckabee’s, is not a political move to outmaneuver the former Arkansas governor. The aide said the decision to go today simply worked best with Cruz’s schedule.

“Cruz expressed interest in visiting Davis the moment he found out about her arrest,” the Cruz aide said.

Cruz issued a statement last week after Davis’ arrest, saying, “I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.”

His aide said, “Sen. Cruz will continue doing everything in his power to defend Kim Davis and ensure that no other Americans are further targeted for their religious beliefs.”

Cruz’s trip to Kentucky follows a summer of activities in which he has highlighted to potential voters how he believes religious freedom is under assault. He held a rally last month featuring appearances by other religious freedom advocates, including an Iowa couple who refused to host a gay wedding at a venue they owned.