Former Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday, throwing his weight behind the GOP White House hopeful a week before the Dairy State's primary.
“After a lot of prayer ... it's time we elect a strong new leader, and I've chosen to endorse Ted Cruz,” Walker said during an appearance on Milwaukee WTMJ radio’s “Midday” program with Charlie Sykes. "Ted Cruz is in the best position by far to win the nomination of the Republican Party."
Walker, who described his decision as "an easy call," said he wants a strong constitutional leader and said Cruz will not be afraid to take on big government special interests — even those aligned with the Republican Party. The governor said he has reached out to the Cruz campaign and could join him at campaign stops this week.
After the failed Obama-Clinton Admin, Americans want leadership. I endorse @TedCruz, a principled constitutional conservative who can win.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) March 29, 2016
Sykes is a self-described #NeverTrump supporter who has thrown his backing to Cruz, making Walker’s announcement on his show a natural fit. Walker had previously indicated he believes Cruz is the only remaining Republican candidate who can mount a challenge against businessman Donald Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is trailing behind both Trump and Cruz in the latest polls out of Wisconsin.
Cruz praised Walker Monday, pointing out the governor’s fight against unions and his conservative background.
“I am a big, big fan of Scott Walker’s,” Cruz told reporters while campaigning in central Wisconsin. “He is a terrific governor and strong conservative. ... Of course I would welcome Scott Walker’s support.”
Trump was not expecting an endorsement from Walker, tweeting late Monday that he had beaten Walker in Republican primaries.
After the way I beat Gov. Scott Walker (and Jeb, Rand, Marco and all others) in the Presidential Primaries, no way he would ever endorse me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2016
Walker, who was heralded as a potential front-runner at the start of the campaign, ended his bid for the presidency in September after disappointing debate appearances and low campaign donations.
“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner,” Walker said in September, referring to Trump. “This is fundamentally important to the future of our party and, more important, the future of the country.”
Wisconsin remains an important primary state for the three remaining candidates, with Trump and Cruz in tight competition in the latest polls. The winner-takes-all primary system comes with 42 delegates. Voters will head to the polls in exactly a week, and the three remaining candidates are scheduled to participate in a town hall event Tuesday evening.