- Ted Cruz attacks Donald Trump as too trusting of the federal government's power in the West ahead of next week's Nevada caucuses
- "Eight-five percent of Nevada is owned and regulated by the federal government, and Donald Trump wants to keep big government in charge," Cruz says
(CNN)Ted Cruz has found his wedge issue against Donald Trump on Nevada: land ownership.
Cruz has begun airing his first television ad in Nevada that attacks Trump as too trusting of the federal government's power in the West, setting up what could be a key contrast in the short sprint between South Carolina and Nevada's GOP caucuses on Tuesday.
"Eight-five percent of Nevada is owned and regulated by the federal government, and Donald Trump wants to keep big government in charge," Cruz says in the new direct-to-camera spot, titled "Nevada's Land," first observed by advertising tracker Kantar Media/CMAG. "That's ridiculous."
Trump has said public lands are "an absolute mess" and vowed to fix them. But he has expressed reluctance to turn them back over to the states.
"I don't like the idea because I want to keep the lands great and you don't know what the state is going to do," he told Field and Stream magazine last month.
Republican candidates and allied groups have spent very little money on Nevada advertising, with most pouring cash into South Carolina that votes just three days prior.
Cruz's super PAC recently announced it too would begin television time in the Silver State, beginning a $2 million campaign in the state where Trump has a 26-point lead, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll.