By Quentin Misiag | firstname.lastname@example.org
Fans of the A&E Network’s smash hit “Duck Dynasty” show should recognize a familiar face in a new political advertisement when they switch on their TV’s this month: family patriarch Phil Robertson.
That is, if they find themselves in Iowa.
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s newest Iowa TV ad, “Cruz Commander” stars Robertson, 69, a millionaire professional hunter and businessman who has been with the reality TV show since March 2012.
“Ted Cruz is my man. He fits the bill. He’s got me. He loves us. He’s the man for the job and he will go duck hunting,” the gray-bearded Robertson says in the 56-second-long ad.
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The ad spot went live online last week and is now being played across all of Iowa’s TV markets.
Robertson and the rest of the “Duck Dynasty” clan rose to fame in 2012 for their life in the Louisiana bayou.
This image made from video provided by the Cruz campaign via YouTube shows Ted Cruz in a video where he is endorsed by “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson. Cruz has made the defense of Second Amendment rights a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, touting his past legal work fighting against gun control laws. (Cruz campaign/YouTube via AP)
Facing the camera, Robertson fires off his qualifications for the next U.S. president, including “would they kill a duck, put ’em in a pot and make ’em a good duck gumbo.”
“It’s now or never,” Robertson tells Cruz, as they huddle in thick Louisiana grass, camouflaged in green and orange hunting gear, faces smeared with black paint and shotguns armed at the ready.
The ad finishes with a new black and white logo emblazoned with “Cruz Commander 2016,” a play on words to Robertson’s business, Duck Commander, a West Monroe, Louisiana-based duck call and hunting company.
Thanks to a slate of key endorsements from top Iowa Republicans and an aggressive on-the-ground retail politics strategy, Cruz has seen his star in Iowa rise over the past two months.
In his three years in the U.S. Senate, Cruz’s voting record has earned an A+ rating from the influential National Rifle Association.
The ad is not the first time Cruz has been seen dressed in camouflage and armed with a shotgun. He has attended U.S. Rep. Steve King’s annual pheasant hunt in Iowa, months before the hardline conservative endorsed Cruz for president and joined his campaign staff as national co-chairman.
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In recent years, that trip has been seen as a must-do for some conservative presidential contenders.
Cruz’s campaign website is chock full of gear targeted at hunters, such as safety-orange hats bearing his name, “Camo Cruzie” drink holders and TV-shirts.
The new ad with Cruz is the first time Robertson has starred in a TV political endorsement, either. In a 2013 special election, Robertson backed Vance McAllister.
McAllister is a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District.