First on CNN: Cruz ad shares story of killing in Arizona

Story highlights

  • Ted Cruz is adopting an element of the advertising strategy used by Donald Trump
  • Cruz is making a six-figure buy in both Arizona, a state where the Cruz campaign believes Trump is favored

Washington (CNN)Ted Cruz is adopting an element of the advertising strategy used by Republican presidential rival Donald Trump, launching a new television spot in Arizona featuring a bereaved father whose son was reportedly killed by an undocumented immigrant.

In the new ad, "Grant," a man from Mesa named Steve Ronnebeck speaks directly to the camera about the death of his son, who Ronnebeck said was killed while working an overnight shift by a man who "should have been deported."
    "My son's death was completely preventable," Ronnebeck says. "I trust Ted Cruz. He believes in our Constitution. He believes in the rule of law."
    Cruz is making a six-figure buy in both Arizona, a state where the Cruz campaign believes Trump is favored, and Utah, where they are more bullish about the Texas senator's prospects. Cruz is also airing a new spot in Utah featuring home state Sen. Mike Lee calling for Republicans to unify behind Cruz. That ad draws entirely from Lee's announcement at a news conference earlier this month that he would become Cruz's first backer in the Senate.
    But it's the border state ad in Arizona that is more memorable. "Grant" is similar to a television spot unveiled by Trump earlier this year, "Jameil," in which Jameil Shaw talks about the killing of his son, Jas, allegedly at the hands of an undocumented immigrant as well.
    Ronnebeck, 21, was killed in January 2015 while he was working at a convenience store. Authorities say a man who was in the U.S. illegally tried to purchase cigarettes, but then shot Ronnebeck when he tried to count the money he was given, according to The Arizona Republic.
    Cruz has spent about $250,000 in each state so far, according to Kantar Media/CMAG, a company that tracks political advertising. Trump has yet to launch advertisements in either of those states.
    Republicans vote in Arizona and Utah on Tuesday. Cruz will campaign in Arizona on Friday, and he is expected to do so in Utah on Saturday.