The free-market organization Club for Growth has attacked Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, but now it has gone one further by backing Trump’s nearest rival, Ted Cruz. The organization made its first-ever presidential endorsement in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
“Ted Cruz is the best free-market, pro-growth, limited-government candidate in the race,” said David McIntosh, the group’s president. McIntosh further explained why the organization is making its first foray into presidential politics.
This year is different because there is a vast gulf between the two leading Republican candidates on matters of economic liberty. Their records make clear that Ted Cruz is a consistent conservative who will fight to shrink the federal footprint, while Donald Trump would seek to remake government in his desired image.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Byron Tau noted that last year, the Club for Growth announced it would start spending money to back five Republican presidential candidates, of whom Cruz is now the only one left. Tau argued that this formal endorsement “represents the further consolidation of conservative forces against Mr. Trump’s candidacy.”
Loosely affiliated with the Tea Party, the club spent millions to back Cruz in his 2012 U.S. Senate race. Until last week, the group had been torn between Cruz and Rubio. McIntosh called for “everyone in the conservative movement to join in this important campaign to elect Ted Cruz.”
This month, Club for Growth reported a spike in fundraising. Its largest donation came from Warren and Jackson Stephens of Arkansas, two investment bankers who gave $2.5 million to the organization.
Cruz lost the Arizona primary on Tuesday evening, but won the Utah caucus. He is still the underdog in the race, more than 200 delegates behind Trump.