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Ted Cruz drops out of presidential race after Indiana loss

Departure of the last Southerner in the White House contest hands nomination to Donald Trump

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern-states-lgINDIANAPOLIS (CFP) — After a crushing loss to Donald Trump in the Indiana primary, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, ending a 13-month quest for the nation’s highest office.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

“From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz told incredulous supporters in Indianapolis after the May 3 vote. “Together, we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got, but the voters chose another path.”

Spectators in the audience shouted “No!” as it became clear that Cruz would bow out of the race.

Cruz was the last of the 10 Southerners still in the presidential contest, a field that one point included nine Republicans and one Democrat from the region. His departure came after losing to Trump by 16 points in Indiana and getting shut out in the hunt for delegates.

Trump’s win in the Hoosier State extinguished any hope of denying him a majority of the delegates to this summer’s Republican National Convention.

Cruz, 45, is in his first term representing the Lone Star State. He ran for president hoping to harness the support of religious conservatives and Tea Party forces that had carried him to the Senate.

Cruz won the first presidential contest, narrowly defeating Trump in Iowa. However, Cruz struggled to find traction with his base in the face of the Trump phenomenon. That was particularly true in the South, an evangelical-heavy region where he won just two states, Texas and Oklahoma.

As the field began to dwindle, Cruz tried to position himself as the alternative to stop Trump, which worked in early April with a victory in Wisconsin. But then Trump rolled through New York and several Northeastern states, giving him a delegate lead that became insurmountable after Cruz’s loss in Indiana.

Cruz was not helped by his deep unpopularity with his colleagues in Congress, one of whom, former House Speaker John Boehner, described him as “Lucifer in the flesh.” But Cruz wore their opprobrium as a badge of honor, saying it proved he was a genuine outsider.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz picks Carly Fiorina as running mate

Cruz looks to reignite campaign with early announcement of VP pick

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern-states-lgINDIANAPOLIS (CFP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has picked former Hewlett-Packard CEO and one-time rival Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate in a bid to jump start his flagging campaign.

Vice Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina

Vice Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina

“Carly is brilliant and capable, and yet she experienced the hardscrabble world of being a woman professional in the business world that extracts a price,” Cruz told a rally in Indianapolis on April 27, where he rolled out his new ticket. “Over and over again, Carly has shattered glass ceilings.”

Conceding that selecting a running mate before clinching the nomination was “unusual,” he said he picked Fiorina because she can unite the GOP and because her selection would “give the American people a clear choice.”

In her debut as a vice presidential candidate, Fiorina described the campaign as “a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our nation.”

“I’ve had tough fights all my life. Tough fights don’t worry me. What matters is, is this fight worth having? And this is a fight worth having. This is a fight worth winning.”

Fiorina, 61, suspended her own presidential campaign in February after finishing in seventh place in the New Hampshire GOP primary. She later endorsed Cruz and has joined him on the campaign trail, where she has bonded with Cruz’s two young daughters.

In an odd moment during her debut, Fiorina went on to sing part of a song she made up for his daughters, which began, “I know two girls that I just adore. I’m so happy I can see them more.”

GOP front-runner Donald Trump ridiculed the selection of Fiorina, dismissing it as a “desperate attempt to save a failing campaign.”

The Fiorina pick marks the first time since 1976 that a presidential candidate has named a running mate prior to clinching the nomination. It came a day after Cruz was mathematically eliminated from capturing a delegate majority after getting wiped out in five primaries in the Northeast.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

Cruz came in third behind both Trump and Ohio Governor John Kasich in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island. He failed to crack 20 percent in any of those states and managed less than 11 percent in Rhode Island.

The only state where Cruz didn’t finish dead last was Pennsylvania, where he took 22 percent of the vote and edged out Kasich for second place. Trump won all five primaries up for grabs in the April 26 vote.

Cruz, the last Southerner left in the presidential race, will now head to Indiana, which is increasingly seen as a must-win for the senator to stop Trump from getting to a delegate majority, triggering a contested convention. Indiana votes May 3.

A contested convention is now Cruz’s only path to the GOP nomination. With his losses in the Northeast, he has 562 delegates and would need 675 to secure a majority in Cleveland; however, there are only 616 delegates still outstanding.

With his victories in the Northeast, Trump has 954 pledged delegates. He needs to win just 283 more delegates to secure the nomination, or about 46 percent of the delegates remaining.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz blitzed in Northeast

Cruz loses in five states, mathematically eliminating him from getting a delegate majority

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern-states-lgPHILADELPHIA (CFP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been mathematically eliminated from capturing a majority of Republican presidential delegates after  getting wiped out in five primaries in the Northeast.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

Cruz came in third behind both Donald Trump and Ohio Governor John Kasich in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island. He failed to crack 20 percent in any of those states and managed less than 11 percent in Rhode Island.

The only state where Cruz didn’t finish dead last was Pennsylvania, where he took 22 percent of the vote and edged out Kasich for second place. Trump won all five primaries up for grabs in the April 26 vote.

Cruz, the last Southerner left in the presidential race, will now head to Indiana, which is increasingly seen as a must-win for the senator to stop Trump from getting to a delegate majority, triggering a contested convention. Indiana votes May 3.

A contested convention is now Cruz’s only path to the GOP nomination. With his losses in the Northeast, he has 562 delegates and would need 675 to secure a majority in Cleveland; however, there are only 616 delegates still outstanding.

With his victories in the Northeast, Trump has 954 pledged delegates. He needs to win just 283 more delegates to secure the nomination, or about 46 percent of the delegates remaining.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz soundly beaten in New York primary

Texas senator gets none of New York’s 95 delegates after finishing 46 points behind Donald Trump

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern-states-lgNEW YORK (CFP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas limped to a third-place finish in New York’s Republican primary, a loss which has all but eliminated him from capturing a delegate majority before the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

Cruz, the only Southerner left in the presidential race, took less than 15 percent of the vote in the Empire State, trailing Donald Trump, who took 61 percent, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who took 25.

Because he failed to crack 20 percent in New York, Cruz was also shut out of getting any of the 95 delegates up for grabs in the April 19 vote.

To get to the 1,237 delegates needed for a first ballot victory, Cruz will now need to sweep all of the remaining primaries, including several on April 26 in Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states where polls show him trailing Trump.

However, Cruz has been making inroads in the parallel delegate selection process, where actual convention delegates are picked. And although many of these pro-Cruz delegates will be legally obligated to vote for Trump on the first ballot, they will be free to defect if Trump can’t muster a first-ballot majority.

Cruz thumps Trump in Wisconsin primary

Texas senator’s win complicates Trump’s quest for GOP delegate majority

southern-states-lgMILWAUKEE (CFP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas easily defeated Donald Trump in Wisconsin’s Republican presidential primary, complicating Trump’s quest to get to the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination outright.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

Riding a wave of conservative and establishment opposition to Trump, Cruz took 48 percent in the April 5 vote, compared to 35 percent for Trump and 14 percent for Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Perhaps more importantly, Cruz took 36 of the 42 delegates up for grabs in the Badger State, compared to just six for Trump.

Speaking to his supporters in Milwaukee after his victory, the Texas senator hailed the result as a turning point in the campaign.

“Tonight, Wisconsin has lit a candle guiding the way forward,” Cruz said. “Tonight is about unity, and tonight is about hope.”

Trump did not speak after the results came in, but his campaign released a statement calling Cruz “a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.”

Cruz’s win in Wisconsin was his ninth of the campaign season and his second in the Midwest, after Iowa. But he still trails Trump, who has won in 21 states.

Trump’s loss means he will now have to win 56 percent of the delegates up for grabs in the remaining primaries and caucuses to secure a majority at the Republican convention in Cleveland, making a contested convention more likely.

However, the primary battle now turns to states in the Northeast, including New York in two weeks–home turf for Trump but inhospitable territory for a Southern conservative.

Marco Rubio exits presidential race after losing Florida

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton win primaries in Florida and North Carolina

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

florida mugMIAMI (CFP) — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has of Florida ended his presidential campaign after losing the Sunshine State to Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

Trump also carried North Carolina. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton also easily won both Florida and North Carolina.

The only Southerner now left in the race, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, failed to win any of the five March 15 contests. However, his losses to Trump were narrow in North Carolina and Illinois, and Missouri was a virtual tie, with Trump prevailing by less than 1,800 votes.

“After tonight, America now has a clear choice going forward,” Cruz told supporters in Houston. “Only two campaigns have a plausible path to the nomination, ours and Donald Trump’s. Nobody else has any mathematical possibility whatsoever.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

Rubio, who won only two primary contests in Minnesota and Puerto Rico, had been banking on a win in his home state. But Trump carried 46 percent to Rubio’s 27 percent, with Cruz at 17 percent and Ohio Governor John Kasich at 7 percent.

Speaking to supporters in Miami after the television networks called the race for Trump, Rubio said “it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side.”

“The fact that I’ve even come this far is evidence of how special America is,” he said.

A short time later, Cruz saluted Rubio’s campaign effort and made a direct pitch for his voters.

“To those who supported Marco, who worked so hard, we welcome you with open arms,” Cruz said.

In North Carolina, Trump took 40 percent to 37 percent for Cruz, 13 percent for Kasich and 8 percent for Rubio.

In the Democratic primary in Florida, Clinton rolled up 65 percent, to 33 percent for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The race in North Carolina was closer, with Clinton at 55 percent and Sanders at 41 percent.

With those wins, Clinton has now taken 13 of the 14 Southern states, with only West Virginia left. Trump has taken 11, losing only Texas and Oklahoma to Cruz.

Voters in West Virginia go to the polls May 10.

Southerners Cruz, Rubio jockey for position after Super Tuesday

Both senators vie to be final alternative to Donald Trump
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

southern-states-lg(CFP) — The two Southerners left in the Republican presidential race may have failed to stop Donald Trump’s bandwagon in the Super Tuesday primaries, but both U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are insisting that the results make them the most viable alternative to the New York billionaire.

Eleven states held contests to pick Republican delegates on March 1. Trump won seven. Cruz won Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska and came in second in four other states. Rubio won Minnesota and came in second in two.

Despite those mixed results, both Cruz and Rubio made it clear that they are staying in the race. And while Rubio didn’t talk about Cruz on election night, Cruz made a direct appeal for Rubio and the other candidates to drop out to give him a clear shot at Trump.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

“So long as the field is divided, the nomination of Donald Trump becomes more likely, and that would be a disaster,” Cruz told supporters in Stafford, Texas, near Houston.

Addressing the other candidates, he said, “I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together, uniting.”

“That is the only way to beat Donald Trump. Head-to-head, our campaign beats Donald Trump resoundingly.”

But down in Miami, a defiant Rubio denounced Trump as a “con artist” and made it clear he doesn’t plan to leave the race.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

“No matter how long it takes, no matter how many states it takes, no matter how many weeks and months it takes, I will campaign as long as it takes, and wherever it takes, to ensure that I am the next president of the United States,” Rubio said.

Rubio insisted that his stepped-up campaign of attacks against Trump has begun eroding Trump’s poll numbers, and he said he was looking forward to the March 15 primary in his home state of Florida.

“Two weeks from tonight, right here in Florida, we are going to send a message loud and clear,” he said.

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