Cruz campaign stops by Franklin

Dozens of people lined East Jefferson Street so they could take pictures and shake hands with the potential future first lady and vice president of the United States.

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi and his running mate Carly Fiorina ended their campaign day with a meet-and-greet at Greek’s Pizzeria in downtown Franklin.

About 150 people stopped into the restaurant to make small talk with Heidi Cruz and Fiorina. The duo did not make a formal speech to the crowd but met and took photos with residents and visitors for about an hour.

Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) also greeted attendees and thanked them for their support.

Many in the crowd had attended last week’s Ted Cruz rally at the Johnson County fairgrounds in Franklin.

Long-time Ted Cruz supporter John Miller of New Whiteland came to the event because he wanted to meet the potential future vice president, he said. In addition, seeing the political players in person shows that they’re real people who care, he said.

Miller said he has supported Ted Cruz’s campaign from the start.

“(Cruz) never backed down. He hasn’t changed his stance since he started,” Miller said.

Some in the crowd had already met Fiorina and Heidi Cruz at past rallies or events.

“This is my sixth Cruz event,” said Tyler Knierim, a University of Indianapolis student. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of the candidates, and I feel like you get to know them a lot better meeting them in real life than on the TV, hearing soundbites.”

Knierim met Fiorina the previous day before at an event in Lafayette and had a photo printed for her to autograph.

Greek’s Pizzeria owner Jason Tapp was contacted by an official from Cruz’s campaign over the weekend, asking if the Jefferson Street restaurant would be willing to host an event. The campaign had been looking for a place to stop when traveling through Franklin, and local volunteers with Cruz suggested Greek’s Pizzeria.

Regardless who the political candidate was, Tapp thought it was a good opportunity to be included in the excitement surrounding the election.

Greek’s Pizzeria & Tapp Room operated under special hours for the event, Tapp said. Normally, the restaurant doesn’t serve lunch on Monday and doesn’t open until 4:30 p.m.

But Tapp opened the restaurant at 3 p.m. to accommodate anyone who wanted to attend the event, he said.

“We decided to open early, to take on the crowd and take on the media. It’ll be good for Franklin and a cool thing that they’re stopping through,” Tapp said. “We’re making sure we have enough staff and anticipating the unknown.

“That’s all we can do for now.”

This was the second stop on the southside for the Cruz campaign in the past three days. Heidi Cruz spoke at Shallos Antique Bar on Saturday as part of a full slate of stops throughout central Indiana. She also visited Noblesville, Greenfield and Plainfield.