Ted Cruz continues to rise as the lone Republican alternative to Donald Trump.
As more primaries go by and more candidates drop out, Cruz is also proving the old adage that politics makes for strange bedfellows.
For instance, The Washington Post reported that many Floridians, including wealthy donors who previously gave to former Florida governor Jeb Bush, “were knocking on doors this weekend in Jacksonville asking voters to cast ballots for Cruz (R-Tex.) in Tuesday’s primary.”
This includes Paul Dickerson, a lawyer who supports Cruz and told the Post that Donald Trump “would be a disaster of the country and embarrassment for the nation, and Ted is the best chance to defeat Donald Trump.”
Cruz is currently second to Trump in the delegate count with 370 to Trump’s 460.
Campaign Endorsements for Ted Cruz
Cruz has recently received the endorsements of many prominent Republicans. As cataloged by Politico, these names include:
- former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina;
- Texas governor Greg Abbott;
- Mississippi governor Phil Bryant;
- South Carolina congressmen Jeff Duncan and Mark Sanford;
- popular conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck;
- Neil Bush, brother of former candidate Jeb Bush and former president George W. Bush.
However, Cruz was disappointed when other prominent Republicans, including Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and retired surgeon Dr. Ben Carson endorsed Trump.
Sessions, a stalwart proponent of immigration reform was particularly seen as a blow, to Cruz’ efforts, since he often invoked the Alabama senator.
National Review Endorses Cruz
But perhaps most importantly for Cruz, National Review, the conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. in 1955, made two important moves which benefited Cruz: first, they released their their “Against Trump” issue on January 21, released just prior to the first contest in the Iowa Caucuses.
Second, they endorsed Ted Cruz in their most recent issue.
“Cruz is a brilliant and articulate exponent of our views on the full spectrum of issues. Other Republicans say we should protect the Constitution. Cruz has actually done it; indeed, it has been the animating passion of his career.”
Cruz’ Path Forward
There are six primaries that take place today in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, and the Northern Mariana Islands. All together, there are 361 delegates that will be rewarded.
The largest prizes of the night are Florida and Ohio, where 99 and 66 delegates, respectively, will be rewarded only to the winner. Trump has a wide lead in most Florida polls. Florida senator Marco Rubio trails at a distant second.
A few weeks ago, it seemed that Cruz was going to leave Florida alone. But more recently, the Texas senator has campaigned aggressively there.
"As a former supporter of Marco Rubio, I appeal to my fellow Floridians: It's time to join arms with Ted Cruz": https://t.co/RxBAyfx9pK— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 14, 2016
While a recent CBS News poll placed Cruz at 27 percent and within striking distance of Ohio governor John Kasich and Trump, Kasich leads in most polls.
However, Cruz has been surging in North Carolina, where a Public Policy Polling(PPP) poll had him at 33 percent to 44 percent for Trump.
Unlike Florida and Ohio, the primaries in North Carolina, Illinois, and Missouri are not winner-take-all; the delegates in the latter three states are dolled out proportionately.
What of Rubio and Kasich?
What is becoming increasingly clear to many Cruz supporters is that Rubio and Kasich need to drop out.
John Hawkins, owner of Right Wing News and a Cruz backer, tweeted the following.
Kasich & Rubio are iffy on backing Trump if gets the nomination, but also stayed in, making it impossible for Cruz to catch him. #loselose— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) March 13, 2016
Meanwhile, Redstate.com called for Rubio to exit the race and become Cruz’ running mate.
If Rubio loses Florida, he is more likely to drop out–despite his protestations to the contrary, thus giving Republican voters less of a chance to divide the anti-Trump vote.
Following these races are delegate-rich contests in Arizona (58) and Utah (40) on March 22, Wisconsin (42) on April 5, and New York (95) on April 19.
[Photo by Matt Rourke/AP Images]