Last November the CEOs of tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google were grilled by senators about their handling of misinformation – lies – during the 2020 election cycle. As always when the camera’s red tally light is on, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was in full-throated outrage over what he claimed was Facebook’s unnecessary flagging and deleting of Republican and conservative messaging.
Now that the hearing is just a memory and the camera has been shut off Cruz can’t embrace Facebook hard enough. Even though he’s not up for re-election until 2024 the Texas Republican is spending bigger on Facebook advertising that all but one senator in the past two months. A Politico analysis of of Facebook advertising disclosures found that Cruz has sunk more than $240,000 into Facebook ads since the platform resumed accepting political ads in February. In the run up to the 2020 election the company had announced last October that it was indefinitely suspending political ads to re-evaluate its policies.
The only sitting senator who has spent more is Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). He has spent $335,000 for ads on the social media platform.
Republicans say the approach will help Cruz raise dollars online and cultivate and collect email addresses of small dollar donors. His campaign and allied groups raised $5.3 million in the first quarter of this year — 98 percent of which came in increments of $100 or less.
In addition to building a digital following, Cruz actually needs the money small dollar donors are sending in because a number of large corporate donors have severed ties with the Texas Republican after he voted not to certify President Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6. Cruz has said that even if corporate PACs were to contribute he would reject the donations. He has been highly critical of “woke” corporations that have come out against Republican-crafted restrictive voting laws in Georgia and other states. He pledged in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last month, “Starting today, I no longer accept money from any corporate PAC. I urge my GOP colleagues at all levels to do the same.”
Hence, this message in his recent Facebook ads.
“I’m done with these woke corporations,” reads a Cruz ad that started running last week. “I’m never taking their money again. I won’t owe them a single thing and I’m going to spend every day stopping their radical agenda. But if I’m going to win, if I’m going to beat them, then I need patriots like you to step up and make a donation today!”