Cruz racks up endorsements from former GOP rivals

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Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzTed CruzFive things to watch for at Trump-Clinton debate This week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Funding fight dominates Congress MORE was endorsed by Scott Walker Tuesday, making the Wisconsin governor the fifth former Republican presidential candidate to announce support for the Texas senator. Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDebate day dawns with big expectations for Clinton, Trump Judd Gregg: Debate prep and being Al Gore Juan Williams: Verdict on big debate will be instantaneous MORE has the backing of two former candidates. Some candidates who have dropped out of the race — including Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate rivals gear up for debates Rubio: End of Obama's term could be 'most damaging yet' Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance MORE — have yet to endorse a candidate.


Ben Carson

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump earlier this month. Carson, who ended his presidential bid in March, said Trump is an “intelligent man who cares deeply about America” and suggested there are two versions of the front-runner: the one on television and the one behind the scenes.

Carson has defended Trump as the only candidate who can win in the general election. 

Trump insulted Carson while they were rivals on the campaign trail, though Carson said he has since forgiven the front-runner. Trump has said Carson will have a “big part” in the campaign, specifically with healthcare and education.

Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Trump last month after suspending his campaign following a disappointing finish in New Hampshire. Christie told voters during a surprise announcement in Texas that Trump is the best candidate to lead the country and take on Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDebate day dawns with big expectations for Clinton, Trump Judd Gregg: Debate prep and being Al Gore Juan Williams: Verdict on big debate will be instantaneous MORE.

“I’ve been on that stage. I’ve gotten to know all the people on that stage. And there is no one better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump,” Christie said alongside Trump.

Before suspending his campaign, Christie had clashed with Trump, questioning the front-runner’s ability to lead the country.


Carly Fiorina 

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who suspended her campaign in February, endorsed Cruz earlier this month at a Miami rally. She praised the senator as a political outsider and constitutional conservative, calling him “a fearless fighter and reformer.” She also slammed Trump and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton as “two sides of the same coin.” She said Cruz is the only candidate who could beat Trump.

During her campaign, Fiorina accused Cruz of saying “whatever he needs to say to get elected.”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) initially endorsed Jeb Bush, who suspended his campaign in February. 

Earlier this month, Graham said Cruz has “made the best case” that he can beat Trump. Although he said Cruz is not his favorite candidate, he said the party may have to rally around him to prevent a Trump nomination. Graham has headlined a fundraiser for the Texas senator since announcing his support.

Graham told reporters in the Senate basement that Cruz is a “reliable Republican, strong on Israel, would repeal and replace ObamaCare, would be good on the Supreme Court.” Cruz joked earlier this month that support from Graham shows that God “can still do miracles.”

In January, Graham said choosing between Trump and Cruz was like deciding whether to be shot or poisoned. He also joked last month that if Cruz were killed on the floor of the Senate and the trial was held in the chamber, “nobody would convict you.” He’s said John Kasich would be the most electable candidate but doesn't think the Ohio governor has a path to the nomination. He also called Cruz his “15th choice,” noting he doesn’t dislike the Texas senator but the two have a “lot of differences.” 

Scott Walker

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorsed Cruz Tuesday, ahead of the Wisconsin primary on April 5. In his endorsement, he called Cruz a “principled constitutional conservative who can win.” Walker said Cruz is best positioned to win the nomination and beat Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in a general election.

"After all these years of the Obama-Clinton failures, it’s time we elect a strong new leader, and I’ve chosen to endorse Ted Cruz," he said.

Walker dropped out of the race in September and was one of the first to call on the party to come together around a Trump alternative.

Jeb Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz following the Utah caucuses, where the senator won all of the state’s delegates.

Calling him a “consistent, principled conservative,” Bush said Cruz has “demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests."

“Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential," the former Florida governor said.

Bush also called on the Republicans to “overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity [Donald Trump] has brought to the political arena or risk losing the White House.”

Rick Perry

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry endorsed Cruz in January, ahead of the Iowa caucuses. He said Cruz is the most consistent conservative of the Republican candidates and called the Texas senator a “man of principle.” He urged Republicans to rally around Cruz. 

“He has proven he will do what is necessary to secure our borders, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism and ensure our veterans get the care that they’ve earned,” Perry said in an online ad released by the Cruz campaign.

Perry suspended his own bid in September.


Rick Santorum

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) announced his support for Marco Rubio in February, at the same time he ended his campaign. Santorum said on Fox News that he shares many of the same values as Rubio, who has a “real understanding of the threat to ISIS, real understanding of the threat to fundamental Islam.” He also called Rubio a “tremendously gifted young man” and a “born leader.”

Rubio suspended his campaign earlier this month. 

George Pataki

Former New York Gov. George Pataki endorsed Rubio in January, weeks after ending his own presidential campaign. He said on Fox News that Rubio has the “leadership,” “vision” and “intelligence from Congress to understand what it takes to defend us from radical Islam.” He also said Rubio was the only candidate who could bring America together. Pataki said he will not support Trump for president if he wins the party's nomination.

Bobby Jindal

Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal endorsed Rubio in February during an interview on Fox News. He called Rubio a “principled conservative” who could “unify our party” and win in November. Jindal ended his campaign in November. He endorsed Rubio as the Florida senator was looking to maintain momentum heading into the New Hampshire primary.


Marco Rubio

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio ended his presidential campaign earlier this month after losing to Trump in his home state of Florida. Rubio hasn’t yet endorsed a candidate, but he has praised Cruz, calling the Texas senator “the only conservative left in the race.” During his time in the race, Rubio and Trump exchanged many attacks.

The Florida senator has also ruled out accepting a vice presidential spot. 

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said earlier this month he doesn’t plan on endorsing a candidate in the GOP race. Paul ended his campaign in February but said earlier this month he will keep his preference private. Paul has clashed with both Cruz and Trump in the past. He said in January he worries “a little bit more about Donald Trump.”

“The main reason I do is that I believe he wants more power to come to him and ‘he’ll take care of us all’ if we just give him more power, but I’m from a limited government tradition,” he said.

Mike Huckabee

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) has not yet endorsed a candidate. Earlier this month, Huckabee said the establishment Republicans were “bed-wetting” over Trump after the front-runner picked up a series of wins. Huckabee’s daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, joined the Trump campaign in February as a senior adviser.

Jim Gilmore

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) suspended his campaign last month after failing to gain traction in the polls. Gilmore has not yet endorsed a candidate in the presidential primary.