Ted Cruz, Whose Real Name Is Rafael, Releases Campaign Ad Attacking Democratic Challenger For Changing His Name

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is running for re-election and, after winning his primary race on Tuesday, he immediately released a radio ad attacking Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

The ad is a 60-second country jingle with lyrics insisting that a liberal man can’t represent Texas, that O’Rourke wants to take away firearms away from gun owners, and that the Democrat is a phony for not going by his given birth name.

The song accuses O’Rourke — full name Robert Francis O’Rourke — of wanting to “fit in,” going on to say, “So he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.”

This is a rich attack coming from Ted Cruz, whose real name is Rafael Edward Cruz and who went by the nickname “Felito” as a young boy. According to his biography, the reason he stopped going by Rafael and the diminutive version of it was precisely that he wanted to fit in. His name, which he said rhymed with “Cheeto” and “Frito,” was fodder for bullies at his school. He then chose to start going by Ted.

When asked about the ad, Cruz said he and his team were “just having a sense of humor.” Pressed about the fact that he himself doesn’t go by his given name, Cruz responded, “You’re absolutely right. My name is Rafael Edward Cruz. I am the son of my father Rafael Cruz, an immigrant from Cuba who came to Texas with nothing.”

O’Rourke dismissed the ad as frivolous during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

“I just don’t think that’s what folks in Texas want us to focus on,” he said. “We can get into name-calling and talk about why the other person is such an awful guy, or we can focus on the big things we want to do for the future of our country, for the generations that will succeed us … We can focus on the small, mean, petty stuff, or we can be big, bold, courageous, and confident.”

If you’re ready to read more from the unbossed and unbought Politicus team, sign up for our newsletter here!