POLITICS

'Star Wars' buff Ted Cruz holds contest for tickets to film's opening weekend

Sen. Ted Cruz before a town hall meeting at Furman University on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Greenville, S.C.

Sen. Ted Cruz before a town hall meeting at Furman University on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Greenville, S.C.  (ap)

Just in time for the holidays — a Ted Cruz “Star Wars” contest.

For that community of Americans that can’t get enough of either the Texas senator or “Star Wars," the presidential candidate is making two tickets to the opening weekend of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” available to the winner of a contest that he is holding via his campaign mobile app, ABC News reports.

Cruz is a diehard fan of “Star Wars,” and even does impersonations of some of its characters.

He says that “Star Wars” films have aspects that lend themselves to being on the campaign trail.

For example, he says he doesn't accept when someone from his staff tells him, "We tried." 

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"My response is straight out of Yoda — 'There is no try. Do or do not,'" he said, according to ABC. "And likewise if someone does something very impressive, I'll turn to them just like Vader and say, 'The force is strong with this one.'"

The contest, which is over on Tuesday, Dec. 15, will name as winner the person who accumulates the most points. The new “Star Wars” films opens Friday.

Cruz’s 27,000 app users got a notification that said: "Ted is a huge fan of the entire saga, and we know many of you are too. So keep helping us get the message out for a chance to win a movie night on us!”

Cruz told ABC News that “Star Wars” was a very real part of his life, going back to his childhood, when he stood in line for hours to see the films with his father.

"I grew up on 'Star Wars,'" Cruz told ABC News. "I collected all the 'Star Wars' action figures, I had them all in a Darth Vader carrying case and with my friends we would play and fight them back and forth. I had a giant millennium falcon."

While it seems fun and quirky, there is also a very strategic dimension to Cruz’s use of “Star Wars” and the mobile app. It helps him collect information about more potential voters, ABC News notes.

Chris Wilson, the Cruz campaign’s director of analytics, said the app uses the latest gaming technology to "create engagement for supporters, engagement for volunteers, engagement with donors so people can be involved no matter where they are and where they live."

"The way people earn points is by retweeting the senator to liking posts on Facebook or sharing them with their friends on the lower point level side," Wilson said. "On the upper end, higher points are given to motivate someone to contact their friends or to even go door to door."

Wilson said that Cruz is a gaming buff.

"He does love to play games on his phone, loves competition and is very into technology. You take all those three things together and that shows why the app is such a good fit for the campaign," Wilson said.

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