LI Graduate Helps Lead the Ted Cruz “Grassroots Army” to Victory

August 14, 2012 | By Lauren Hart

The Lone Star state elected Ted Cruz as its Republican nominee for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s U.S. Senate seat by a 14-point landslide. Cruz is the favorite for the general election in November.  After all, no Democrat has been elected to statewide office since 1994.

The real story, though, is how a first-time candidate for elected office could pull a Texas-sized upset against the deep pockets and connections of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.

Just how did Ted Cruz do it?

Last week we explored Cruz’s online dominance led by Leadership Institute (LI) faculty member Vincent Harris.

What pushed Cruz over the top was his get-out-the-vote strategy, helped by LI graduate Nick Dyer.  Cruz's story is a classic grassroots one.

“Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win,” Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell writes in The Real Nature of Politics. “You don’t win just because your heart is pure, even if you can prove logically that you are right. What,
then, does determine victory?”

“In our frequent meetings and discussions, we came to our second great conclusion: The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides,” Morton concludes from his 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign experience.

The same is true today.

“In January, I joined the Ted Cruz campaign as Youth Outreach Director,” Nick Dyer, a graduate of the Leadership Institute’s campaign training, said.  “I identified leaders on campuses across the state working with them to facilitate projects that I learned about in LI’s Youth Leadership School. We tabled to build our organization and built a network of volunteers that were integral to the success of the campaign.”


Nick is from a small Northeast Texas town called Cumby. He was one of 27 people in his high school’s senior class, from which he graduated in 2005.  

“It is important to be engaged because this is our future we are talking about. If we get involved at an early age to fight to reduce the size and scope of government, to rein in spending, and defend the Constitution, we have a very real chance of accomplishing those goals,” Nick shared with LI. “Liberty is far too precious of a gift to watch it slip away.”

He headed to Texas A&M University for college, but “left school because I did not want to go further into debt with the state of the job market,” Nick shared.  “I studied Economics, where I grew frustrated because a lot of it didn’t make sense. Well, now I know why: they were teaching bad Keynesian economics.”



After a few months successfully running Cruz’s youth outreach, Nick was promoted in April to Central Texas Field Director.

“This expanded my role beyond the youth to the broader spectrum of the grassroots,” Nick said. “Liberty and the Constitution are powerful volunteer recruitment tools. We gained some of the most dedicated grassroots activists I’ve ever met. They were ready to do what needed to be done to win. They groaned when I asked them to make another 100 calls, but they did it.”

And after Texas’ June runoff election, Nick was again promoted.

“Our field program expanded and I was named Deputy State Field Director,” Nick shared with the Leadership Institute.  “I assisted in managing six regions across 254 counties.  With our team of regional directors and a grassroots army the state has never seen, we were able to flip it from Dewhurst to Cruz in the majority of major counties we needed to win.  This led to our resounding run-off victory of 57 to 43 percent.”

Nick has taken the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School in December 2011, Primary Targeting for Liberty training in November 2011, and participated in various LI resume consultations and job fairs.

“LI’s trainings have been absolutely invaluable to my career,” Nick shared.  “I cannot imagine being without the skills that I honed in the incredibly informative sessions.  I learned everything from targeting strategies to get-out-the-vote roll-out to crisis management.”

In fact, Ted Cruz himself served as volunteer faculty at the Leadership Institute in 2002, when he was director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. He taught at LI’s Candidate Development School, now known as the Campaign Management School.

“LI has provided some of the most direct influence on my political career and has catapulted me to succeed. I literally would not be in the position I am today if it were not for the Leadership Institute,” Nick said. “I am incredibly grateful for the fantastic organization that Morton Blackwell has created. I’m especially grateful for his Laws of the Public Policy Process. Every axiom is spot on and there is at least one for every political situation you might find yourself in.”

LI offers training in 50 states and dozens of countries. Please go here to register for an already-scheduled training or contact LI to request training in your area. 

“The Leadership Institute is the best source of education to become just that, a leader in the conservative movement. LI doesn’t just offer trainings, even though they are incredible. When you attend an LI training, you are starting a lifelong relationship with a group of people who are dedicated, not only to limiting government, but fostering your career to achieve it,” Nick said. “I recommend the Leadership Institute to absolutely anyone who is serious about moving the ball forward for conservatism. You must get involved with the Leadership Institute.”

So, what’s next for Nick?

“I will continue working my behind off to ensure that Texas has a constitutional conservative as our next U.S. Senator,” Nick told LI. “After that, I hope to work on the Hill for a then Senator Cruz for some time. Ultimately, I want to continue to help elect true conservatives that fight tirelessly to defend the Constitution in whatever capacity that may be.”

Please welcome Nick Dyer as LI’s Graduate of the Week.

Other LI graduates on the Cruz campaign are:

- Erin DeLullo: finance consultant
- Rachel Kania: state field director
- Tyler Norris: deputy communications director
- Chris Perkins: pollster
- Josh Perry: digital director
- Nico Rios: political intern

The Leadership Institute is a 501 (c) 3 organization that does not endorse or oppose any candidate or legislation, and all programs are open to the public.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member to be featured as LI's spotlight of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.