DALLAS, TX (KTRK) --Before Senator Ted Cruz took to the convention stage and thanked thousands of supporters for his 14 month presidential run, he met with Eyewitness news in his hotel suite next door. On Saturday, he gave his first televised one-on-one interview since bowing out the race May 3.
"My one regret, my one disappointment is that we came up short," he said. "That we disappointed so many conservative grassroots activists who worked so hard and we were not able to prevail in the end. The voters chose a different path."
Cruz told Eyewitness News, as he also told the state convention, he'll now turn his political fight from a White House run to one for re-election in the Senate. He says his message and what he calls a movement of courageous conservatives lives on.
"Look," said the first term senator from Texas. "The message is core principles, the common sense conservative principles that built this country. This particular election didn't turn on policy. Despite my best efforts to focus on those principles and focus on solutions that work, this election turned on other factors instead."
Cruz never mentioned presumptive nominee Donald Trump by name on the convention floor or during our interview. He has not endorsed his rival nor given any indication he will.
"I intend to watch the candidates carefully and listen to what they say and I suspect that's what millions of Americans will be doing as well," he said of the race moving forward. He said he believes, regardless of the winner, he is "fearful the next four years will be very challenging years."
In one exchange, Eyewitness News reporter Tom Abrahams pressed Senator Cruz about his support of the presumptive nominee.
Abrahams: "Who do you see in the White House that makes it more challenging or less challenging?"
Cruz: "That's going to be a determination for the voters."
Abrahams: "What did you mean?"
Cruz: "I don't know the answer to that. What I can tell you is that I'm going to listen to and watch the candidates in this election. "
Cruz said he chooses to look to his own Senate campaign for re-election and continuing the movement of what he calls a national campaign of courageous conservatives. He said it is an effort bigger than one election or one candidate. He is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2018.