HOUSTON—Gathering to celebrate a milestone that many throughout the country had long eagerly awaited, an estimated 150,000 cheering citizens packed into a public park in downtown Houston Wednesday night to hear Ted Cruz confirm his campaign for president of the United States was over, sources reported.
Major roadways were reportedly closed to traffic in anticipation of the event, and a jubilant crowd poured into the streets, swarming Discovery Green in hopes of witnessing the historic moment in person. Sources noted a mood of giddy anticipation spreading through the park as the tightly packed throngs waited expectantly for Cruz to take the stage and announce he was bringing his presidential bid to an end.
“I’ve been dreaming about this moment since the first time I heard Ted Cruz speak, and I just had to be here to see it happen,” said Kevin Chavis, a voter who drove nearly nine hours from Memphis, TN to hear the 45-year-old senator publicly state that while he was proud of all he had accomplished, he did not see a way forward for his campaign at this time. “I’m going to remember this day for the rest of my life!”
“We were all so excited watching the numbers come in and realizing this was finally going to happen,” Chavis added. “Words can’t express how happy I am right now.”
Witnesses told reporters the park was teeming with people who shouted out in celebration, exchanged high-fives, hugged complete strangers, danced, and spontaneously broke out into choruses of “God Bless America.” According to those present, several vendors were selling commemorative merchandise, a brass band played, and a sense of euphoria took hold as revelers waited for the moment when a chastened, sober-faced Cruz would step to the podium and concede the failure of his candidacy.
One audience member remarked that she had taken her children out of school for the day so they could attend the speech, saying the experience would be one her boys would always be able to look back on with fondness and pride.
“My kids just had to be here—I mean, this is one of the most important moments in American history,” said Martha Dorsey, who hoisted her 6-year-old son up onto her shoulders so he would be able to see the former White House hopeful’s face without a trace of its usual self-assured grin. “This is something they’re going to tell their kids about one day. They’ll say, ‘I was there the day Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign ended. I saw him up there holding back tears!’ How special is that?”
Thousands of cameras reportedly flashed as Cruz appeared and walked across the stage, his gaze directed downward. Sources said that upon reaching the podium, the senator was forced to wait nearly 10 minutes for the cheering to die down before he could start speaking. When he finally began his speech, opening with the words “I am suspending my campaign,” the audience erupted once more into thunderous applause.
Reports confirmed that large screens erected throughout the park allowed even those hundreds of yards away to watch the man shift uncomfortably and choke up as he thanked his campaign team for its hard work. When Cruz stated that he would be returning home immediately to spend time with his family, tens of thousands of people were seen breaking into smiles and throwing their arms around one another, unable to contain their joy.
“After Iowa, I really never thought this would happen,” said Houston resident Leslie Kemp, who wiped away a tear as she looked up at the slump-shouldered, visibly crestfallen figure on the stage. “But everyone came together, and we made it happen. It’s easy to be cynical about politics, about the state of our democracy. But seeing Ted Cruz up there announcing that he’s bowing out of the race—it made me proud of my country.”
“I have real hope for the future now,” Kemp added. “We are finally headed in the right direction.”