WASHINGTON (AP) — Ted Cruz embraced Jeb Bush’s endorsement on Wednesday and claimed he could build a broad coalition capable of beating Hillary Clinton in the fall — if only he can climb past the surging Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump.
Clinton won in Arizona, maintaining a lopsided advantage over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race despite his convincing wins in Utah and Idaho on Tuesday night. Trump and Cruz split the previous night’s two GOP contests, the billionaire taking Arizona and the Texas senator winning Utah.
Bush, the former Florida governor once considered a mainstream Republican powerhouse, dropped out of the contest in February after weak showings in early primaries. “Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has shown he can unite the party,” he tweeted. Bush added on his Facebook page that Republicans “must overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena” or risk losing to Clinton.
But Cruz has a long climb if he’s to catch Trump in the delegate count, and it’s even harder with Ohio Gov. John Kasich still in the hunt.
“I think he’d be a tremendous addition to an administration,” Cruz said pointedly on CNN, praising the governor’s talents while suggesting Kasich should get out of his way. Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee and a leading anti-Trump voice, helped Cruz win Utah, a factor cited by the senator in claiming his appeal is growing beyond the very conservative and religious voters who have powered his victories in some primaries and caucuses.
The latest nomination contests unfolded with Belgium reeling from deadly attacks. Contenders in both parties tried to convince voters they can best protect the U.S. from terrorists. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for blasts in Brussels that left dozens dead and many more wounded.