Nikki Haley, after Marco Rubio’s crushing defeat last night, has switched her endorsement to the only remaining candidate she’d ever be likely to endorse: Ted Cruz. After trading barbs with Donald Trump, the South Carolina governor was highly unlikely to endorse the billionaire, and even though her personal favorite candidate, Rubio, dropped out last night, Nikki Haley’s endorsement is seen by many commentators a boon to an otherwise flagging Cruz campaign.
Governor Nikki Haley first endorsed Marco Rubio with a glowing recommendation, as the Inquisitr reported previously, but Rubio suffered a humiliating defeat in his own home state last night – the first presidential candidate to lose his own home state during a primary in nearly forty years. Governor Nikki Haley is a rising star in the Republican party, and her endorsement of Ted Cruz comes at a critical moment for the Cruz campaign, reports the New York Times.
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) March 16, 2016
“My hope and my prayer is that Senator Cruz can come through, so that he can really push through and get where he needs to go,” Governor Nikki Haley said during a press conference today.
When asked, however, if she would give a formal endorsement to the Ted Cruz campaign, like she did for Marco Rubio – a TV appearance where she celebrated the former presidential candidate – Haley backed off the point, stating that she’s not sure that’s necessary, but she very much supports Ted Cruz at this point.
“If anybody asked me, that’s what I would say, that I very much now want Senator Cruz to move through the ranks and get that top position,” Haley said earlier today.
Some commentators have suggested that Nikki Haley’s endorsement, even though it’s a good thing for the Cruz camp, might be a little half-hearted. Haley could just be backing the only candidate she thinks can beat Trump – it could be less of an endorsement of Cruz than a condemnation of Trump, with whom she has had a bitter feud.
“After seeing what happened in Chicago, after seeing what happened in North Carolina, after seeing what happened in Ohio, we are seeing a division that is not us. That is not who we are as Republicans,” Nikki Haley said to a GOP dinner earlier this month, addressing the violence at Trump rallies.
— Charlie Condon (@CharlieCondon) March 16, 2016
Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Ted Cruz is also an important political move for the South Carolina governor, who some commentators suggest could be angling for a vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket – a nod she’s unlikely to get from Donald Trump. Haley has been a popular figure among the Republican party, and a name that’s made it onto several vice-presidential shortlists since the start of this primary season.
“I think [Ted Cruz] has been disciplined the way that he’s done it, and I think through the strange parts of the election, he hasn’t let that get to him and I think that’s really important in order to see this through,” Haley remarked today, reports Politico.
Haley doesn’t support Trump, and she might only support Cruz because he’s got the best chance to beat Trump – she says she doesn’t see a way forward for John Kasich, expressing doubt that he can secure the nomination before a contested convention. Asked about Marco Rubio, Haley expressed disappointment that her favored candidate dropped out, and maintains that he might have been the best choice.
“I thought Marco Rubio was and is an amazing public servant. I think that he really tapped into so much of what people want in terms of the American dream. I think he had a lot of knowledge in terms of what they had to do, but it obviously wasn’t his time,” Governor Nikki Haley lamented.
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