Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz on Charlie Sykes’ radio show early Tuesday morning. The endorsement came as little surprise, as Walker had told Sykes that his endorsement would come “after Easter, when it would have the maximum impact.” Nevertheless, Walker’s effusive praise of Cruz as a true conservative, and his pledge to campaign with the Texas senator is remarkable. The Wisconsin Republican primary is next Tuesday, April 5.
While he announced his endorsement on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, Walker released a statement supporting Cruz:
After eight years of the failed Obama-Clinton Administration, Americans are looking for real leadership and a new direction. Ted Cruz is a principled constitutional conservative who understands that power belongs to the states – and to the people – and not bureaucrats in Washington.
Just like we did in Wisconsin, Ted Cruz is not afraid to challenge the status quo and to stand up against big government special interests. He is the best-positioned candidate to both win the Republican nomination and defeat Hillary Clinton. That’s why I endorse Ted Cruz for President of the United States.
Walker also proclaimed his support on Twitter.
Like we did in WI, @TedCruz isn’t afraid to stand up to big govt special interests. He understands that power belongs to states, not Wash DC
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) March 29, 2016
In previous comments, however, Walker said that Cruz might not be the best candidate if the race moves to a contested convention in July in Cleveland, Ohio. “I think if it’s an open convention, it’s very likely it would be someone who’s not currently running,” he said, perhaps stoking hopes among former supporters that Walker himself could still emerge as the nominee. Walker entered the race last year with high favorable numbers and a great deal of support, but fell behind quickly with the rise of Donald Trump. There are also signs that his campaign was poorly run and that his mind was split between governing Wisconsin and running for president. Whatever the rumors may be, Walker emphasized his support of Cruz as the best candidate, not only to defeat Trump in the primary, but also to best Hillary Clinton in the general election. Walker chose not to tepidly endorse Cruz, as Mitt Romney did, but rather praised Cruz effusively, and announced he would campaign with him. Walker made a point of saying, “I wanted to make sure that I was supporting someone, I wasn’t against something.”
For now at least, the Wisconsin governor is firmly behind Cruz, who narrowly trails Trump in the RealClearPolitics polling average, 32 percent to 30.3 percent. John Kasich stands at 16 percent. Walker’s support just might push Cruz over the top, as Wisconsin Republicans vote to allocate 42 delegates on April 5. Cruz still needs about 80 percent of the remaining delegates to win the nomination outright, but he may stop Trump from reaching the required 1,237, pushing the race to an open convention.
Here’s the audio from YouTube: