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Ted Cruz talks "New York values" in the Bronx

Cruz gains momentum heading into New York 05:09

Ted Cruz suffered a few setbacks as he campaigned in the Bronx Wednesday.

An anti-abortion campaign event at a restaurant with a few dozen supporters and faith leaders was interrupted by a few protesters who told the Texas senator, "This is an immigrant county, Ted Cruz!"

The meeting with faith leaders was organized by State Senator Ruben Diaz, a Democrat representing the Bronx who has not endorsed any candidate.

At the event, Cruz decried what he described as a "culture of death" surrounding abortion, which he said resulted in a "staggering number of unborn children whose lives are extinguished by a culture of death."

Specifically addressing the minority community, he went on, "The overwhelming prevalence of that in our community, the Hispanic community and the African American community [is that] so many of those babies never get to live. Never get to breathe, never get to invent and accomplish and provide for the next generation."

Earlier in the day, a campaign event scheduled at the Bronx Lighthouse Charter School had to be scrapped. The New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that high school students objected to Cruz, and in a note to school offiicials, wrote, ""His views are against ours and are actively working to harm us, our community, and the people we love." A group of students threatened to walk out of school if Cruz appeared, they wrote in the note.

Cruz was also asked by reporters about "New York values", which he mentioned a few months ago as an insult directed at Donald Trump. "The people of New York know exactly what those values are," he said. "They're the values of liberal Democratic politicians."

Why did Cruz stop in the Bronx -- a predominantly minority left leaning area? According to the 2010 Census, the Hispanics comprised 53.5 percent of the Bronx population while African Americans made up 36.5 percent. But New York state voter enrollment data for 2012 showed that the Bronx had the smallest number of registered Republicans of the five New York boroughs- 45,977 or roughly 9 percent of the total number of 503,036 New York City Republicans.

A Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday showed Cruz at last place at 17 percent behind billionaire Donald Trump who is at 52 percent and Ohio Governor John Kasich at 25 percent.

These bumps may obscure the larger purpose, which is simply to secure delegates in the race to 1,237.

In an analysis by FiveThirtyEight of the 2012 presidential election, the Bronx ,which is New York's 15th congressional district gave Mitt Romney three delegates with just 5,315 votes compared to the same number of delegates provided by Alabama's 6th congressional district which cast 233,803 for Romney.

The campaign's plans for the Bronx were partially designed to show that Cruz could appeal to a diverse audience, but as important, Cruz is focused on winning the three delegates at stake in the congressional district.

When asked by reporters about Cruz's prospects in New York on Tuesday, senior communications advisor Jason Miller described the delegate-focused strategy. "Follow the travel schedule, and that'll tell you data and analytics targeting. We're gonna go where we believe we have the best chance to earn delegates and continue our march to 1237," Miller said.

On Thursday, Cruz continues his New York push with a morning campaign event in Albany, returning to the New York City area later in the afternoon with a tour of a Brooklyn matzah bakery.

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