Stand for Truth, a group formed only six weeks ago, said Friday that it would begin $2 million TV campaigns in both Iowa and South Carolina in the coming weeks.
The little-known group, which has not yet disclosed its donors, is independent of the umbrella network of super PACs, Keep the Promise, that have been blessed by the campaign. And Keep the Promise is largely unaware of the contributors and strategists behind the group, which lacks an immediate tie to the network of Cruz associates who have plotted the independent efforts to back him for over a year.
Stand for Truth, however, does not appear to be a renegade organization: Keep the Promise was aware of Stand for Truth's advertising plans, even if the group is surfacing fairly late in the election calendar.
Nevertheless, the outlay of $4 million is a significant pro-Cruz effort that will be more than any Keep the Promise group has spent so far on television. And it comes at a time when Cruz expects to be on the defensive, given his surge in Iowa that has invited attacks from nearly every other GOP hopeful in recent weeks.
"As one of the two frontrunners heading into the final weeks before voting begins, Senator Cruz is under attack from all directions and will be for the remainder of this election," Eric Lycan, an attorney for the group, said in a statement. "Stand for Truth is here to make sure an accurate message reaches voters."
Stand for Truth began with small advertising buys on digital and radio platforms, while not responding to requests for comment about how it fit into the larger pro-Cruz framework.
The only known official associated with the group, Lycan, is only compounding suspicion of the group in some Cruz circles. A prominent GOP election attorney, Lycan was the counsel in 2014 for the reelection campaign for Mitch McConnell, a Cruz foe in the Senate.
Early media buys have been executed by SRCP Media, a well-known Washington-based GOP advertising firm.
The Keep the Promise network has been reluctant to spend much money on television, only announcing 24 hours earlier, on Thursday evening, that it planned to make its first major foray into TV with a $700,000 purchase on the Iowa airwaves. Given its uneasiness with a large investment in TV, some Cruz allies were elated that Stand for Truth might play the heavy in early pro-Cruz television buys.
The $2.1 million buy in Iowa begins on Jan. 13 and the second $2.1 million in South Carolina begins on Jan. 27. Each runs through the election.