Indiana Governor Mike Pence has endorsed Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for president, giving the struggling second-place candidate a much-needed boost if he hopes to slow down Donald Trump, the Indianapolis Star is reporting.
Speaking to Indianapolis conservative talk radio station WIBC, Pence threw his support behind Cruz.
“I see Ted Cruz as a principled conservative who has dedicated his career to advocating the Reagan agenda.”
He also noted that supporting Cruz may put him at odds with the Republican establishment, which finds itself in the awkward position of having to wrestle with supporting Donald Trump, who appears poised to eventually win the Republican nomination this summer but whose campaign has been dogged by allegations of misogyny, racism, and violence at his rallies – particularly against minorities.
“It’s not a popular thing in Washington D.C. to take on the leadership of your own party. I know that firsthand. I did it when I was there. I opposed runaway federal spending whether it was a Republican administration or Congress or a Democratic administration. He’s been willing to do that.”
Pence, in his endorsement of Cruz, delicately avoided any indication that he wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump should Trump eventually win the nomination this summer.
Cruz said he “enthusiastically welcomes” Pence’s support, according to Fox News Latino.
“The country is depending on Indiana to bring some sober common sense, instead of going down a rash course of action that is endangering this country.”
For Cruz, Indiana is a must-win if he hopes to prevent Trump from coasting to the eventual nomination. Still stinging from a recent slew of losses in a handful of East Coast primaries last week, Cruz hopes to pick up momentum in the much-friendlier Midwest. Indiana’s 57 delegates would be crucial in keeping Cruz’ hopes alive.
As of this writing, neither Ted Cruz nor Donald Trump has enough pledged delegates — 1,237 of them — to secure the Republican nomination at the GOP convention later this year, according to CNN. That number is within reach for Trump — he would have to win 49 percent of the remaining delegates — but is mathematically impossible for Cruz to achieve. The best hope for Cruz is that neither he nor Trump will secure the magic number of delegates and that Cruz will then gain the nomination in a contested convention.
Whether or not Pence’s endorsement of Cruz will make a difference in the Hoosier State and put those much-needed delegates into the Cruz camp remains to be seen. As of this writing, Trump has a 6-8 percent lead in Indiana, according to the most recent polling data.
Tony Samuel, the vice chairman of Trump’s campaign in Indiana, doesn’t see Pence’s endorsement making much of a difference.
“I don’t think this changes a single vote. If anything it could add votes for Donald Trump. And the only real political impact this will have is that it could hurt the governor’s reelection effort.”
Trump, for his part, said as recently as a week ago that he wasn’t sure if he or Cruz would eventually get Pence’s endorsement.
“I don’t think he’ll endorse anybody, actually — and he may endorse us. I don’t know. He’s a great guy. He’s become — you know, he’s done a very, very good job as governor and he’s a great guy. I don’t know if we’ll get his endorsement. I don’t know.”
Do you think Mike Pence’s endorsement of Ted Cruz will make any difference in the outcome of the Republican nomination?
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]