Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign for president and his bid for the Republican nomination after his loss in the Indiana Republican Primary to Donald Trump. In a passionate speech to supporters on Tuesday night, Sen. Cruz vowed to continue the fight for liberty and traditional values, making what sounded unequivocally like the beginning of a unity speech.
Several Cruz staffers were crying before Sen. Cruz took the stage and his family appeared visibly emotional alongside the candidate as he made his announcement.
“The move you have started is extraordinary and I love each and every one of you,” Sen. Cruz said. “From the beginning I promised to continue to fight as long as there was a viable path. It appears that path has been foreclosed. Together, we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we got. But the voters chose a different path.”
The senator thanked his supporters, his family and his running mate Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO and 2016 presidential candidate. Sen. Cruz had taken the unprecedented step to name a running mate even after he was mathematically eliminated in an effort to blunt Mr. Trump’s momentum.
“When we launched this campaign 13 months ago we saw a movement grow. We saw almost 300,000 volunteers all across this nation,” Sen. Cruz said. “Over 1.5 million contributions averaging about $60.00 each. Many of those contributions you never forget. “So with a heavy a heart, but with boundless optimism, for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
Sen. Cruz and the remaining anti-Trump super PAC forces in the party establishment were hoping to repeat his upset in Wisconsin. However, the frontrunner did everything possible to avoid making the same mistakes. A win in that state’s primary would’ve given Mr. Trump a chance to end a protracted primary process, which he saw this time and took action he’s been reluctant to take up until now.
Through April 26, Mr. Trump actually ran more broadcast television spots in the state of Indiana than Sen. Cruz, according to data from Kantar Media’s CMAG. The Donald aired 1,249 spots in the state juxtaposed to 639 for Sen. Cruz. However, dominance in the air war overall still favors Sen. Cruz, who enjoys the support of outside groups either supporting him or opposing Mr. Trump.
Super PACs such as Trusted Leadership PAC, Club for Growth Action and Our Principles PAC, all have spent millions of dollars in the collaboration to deny Mr. Trump the nomination. In total, they ran a combined 1,227 spots in the state, the CMAG study revealed.
With Sen. Cruz out of the race, the lion’s share of his support will undoubtedly fall behind Mr. Trump in the remaining contests, but the party will need to make an effort to unify before November. The race for Indiana got nasty on Tuesday when Sen. Cruz had a media availability Tuesday morning to respond to Mr. Trump allegedly accusing his father of being associated with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to assassinating John F. Kennedy. The senator, who once promised to “continue to sing Donald’s praises,” call him “a pathological liar” who was “amoral” in his non-existent values.
“The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist,” Sen. Cruz said. “A narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.”
Still, as we saw in the Northeast, the anti-Trump–or more specifically, the #NeverTrump movement–is fading despite the result of the vote. The Texas senator, who is now seen as more establishment than outsider, as well as more negatively than positively, has poisoned the well among non-Cruz supporters. In Indiana 4 in 10 said they would not vote for him if he were the nominee. The number of non-Trump supporters who say they wouldn’t vote for Trump was slightly more than 4 in 10, but there were fewer. Only 3 in 10 non-Kasich supporters said they wouldn’t vote for Kasich.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich hopes to continue to exploit that division, releasing a statement after the race was called vowing to continue until June 7. However, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said on social media after Mr. Cruz’s announcement that Mr. Trump is “the presumptive nominee” and it’s time to unite.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016
The frontrunner now leads on the PPD Delegate Tracker by a count of 1,041 to 565. He needs only 1,237 to clinch the nomination. In California, where he enjoys a lead of more than 30 points in the latest poll, there are 172 delegates up for grabs. In New Jersey, where he leads by a similiar margin, there are 51 delegates awarded on a winner-take-all basis.
Mr. Trump is also favored to win in The Garden State. Nevertheless, the Kasich campaign released a statement vowing to continue until Mr. Trump reaches the 1,237 delegates needed. That scenario has now become highly likely.
“This was it. Game. Set. Match,” said Richard Baris, PPD’s senior political analyst. “Mr. Trump has now outperformed our delegate projections on the PPD Election Projection Model for the seventh consecutive contest. With this victory, he is on track to haul in more than enough delegates to clinch the nomination.”
Sen. Cruz officially announced his 2016 presidential campaign on Twitter in May 2015, posting a video saying it will require a “new generation” to lead the country. But, even though Sen. Cruz recognized the reality of the race moving forward, he made it clear he would be a leading conservative voice in the future.
“But hear me now, I am not suspending our fight for liberty, our fight to defend the Constitution or the Judaeo-Christian values that founded our country,” Sen. Cruz said. I give you my word that I will continue this fight with all my strength and ability.”