After losing Indiana to Donald Trump tonight by about 15 points, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pulled out of the presidential race.
Speaking at his headquarters in Indianapolis, surrounded by his family — and the VP candidate he announced last week, Carly Fiorina — Cruz announced his decision to cries of “no!” from gathered supporters.
“Together, we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got, but the voters chose another path,” Cruz said.
“With a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the future of our nation we are suspending our campaign.”
Cruz added that he’s “not suspending our fight to defend the Constitution, to defend the Judeo-Christian values that built America.”
He gave no indication of whether or not he would support Trump. The two shared a cordial relationship early in the campaign, with a private meeting last summer at Trump Tower and Cruz refraining from throwing shots at the real-estate mogul for several months.
That relationship deteriorated as the vast GOP field winnowed down to a final few. Trump branded the senator “Lyin’ Ted” and angered Cruz with a tweet about Heidi Cruz’s looks and his citation of a National Enquirer story claiming that his father helped JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
The National Enquirer, led by Trump supporters and CEO David Pecker, alleged in March that Cruz had five mistresses.
“There is no substitute for victory… thank you to each of you, and God bless you,” Cruz told the crowd.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced earlier in the evening that he is staying in the race, holding out hope of winning at a contested convention.
“As long as it remains possible, Governor Kasich will fight for the higher path,” chief strategist John Weaver said in a statement. “Ted Cruz ran a strong campaign, stood for conservative principles and exposed a lot about Donald Trump. Governor Kasich will continue to campaign and offer the voters a clear choice for our country.”
In Trump’s victory speech, the GOP frontrunner said, “Ted Cruz, I don’t know if he likes me or doesn’t like me. But he’s one hell of a competitor.”