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Rep. Amash endorses Cruz

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is endorsing Ted Cruz, giving the GOP contender a potential boost with libertarian-leaning supporters.

Amash, a strong backer of Rand Paul before he ended his campaign this month, acknowledged Cruz wasn't his first choice but said Tuesday that he could be an "ally" to libertarians.

"It's easy to withdraw from politics when the positions and priorities of the candidates do not precisely mirror our own," Amash wrote in an op-ed published by the Independent Journal.

"But we owe it to our beliefs to find constitutional conservative political allies who not only respect our philosophy but also fight for our views to be heard," he added.

"Ted is not a libertarian and doesn't claim to be. But he is a principled defender of the Constitution, a brilliant strategist and debater who can defeat the Democratic nominee in the general election, and the only remaining candidate I trust to take on what he correctly calls the Washington Cartel."

Amash's endorsement also comes ahead of Tuesday's Nevada Republican caucuses. A recent poll showed Trump up double digits, with Marco Rubio slightly ahead of Cruz for second place.

The House Freedom Caucus member suggested Cruz, a former Supreme Court clerk, could be an asset as Republicans prepare to fight President Obama over replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Cruz is battling Rubio and Trump after taking third in South Carolina. He's tried to win over Paul supporters, even as the Kentucky senator says he doesn't have plans to endorse in the race.

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