“I think he would undoubtedly be formidable,” Mr Cruz said during an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show on Thursday.
Asked by Mr Hewitt how the Dallas Buyers Club actor would fare in the race against Republican incumbent Texas Gov Greg Abbott, who is seek re-election next year, Mr Cruz said: “I like Matthew personally. I know him a little bit. Not well, but I’ve spent a little bit of time with him and he’s a very charming, very affable guy.”
However, he said: “I hope Matthew decides not to run”.
The Academy Award winner has raised the possibility of throwing his hat in the ring for the 2022 governor’s race.
During a March interview, Mr McConaughey said the possibility of running in his home state was a “true consideration”.
“I am considering, as I said I’d be a fool not to, to consider the honour to go into the position of politics, as the governor of Texas,” Mr McConaughey said in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman. “But I honestly have to ask myself, ‘How can I be most useful?’ And maybe that’s as a free agent.”
At the time, the actor made clear that “as far as running, I’m not until I am. So my decision hasn’t changed because I’m still not.”
By May, it seemed he had still not yet ruled out the idea, asserting in an interview on The Carlos Watson Show: “I’m interested in building something that can last, and I’m measuring what category that is. I don’t know if that’s politics.”
“I’m not interested in going and putting a bunch of Band-Aids on that are going to be ripped off as soon as I’m out [of office],” Mr McConaughey said.
Mr Cruz said that while he hoped the celebrity would stay out of the race, he said ultimately the decision lies with Mr McConaughey.
“He’s a movie star, and a good-looking, charming, affable movie star can be a really formidable candidate on the ballot,” Mr Cruz said. “And I hope that doesn’t happen, but you know what? He’s going to have to make his own decision whether he’s going to run or not,” he said.