Ted cruz drops out of presidential race – politico bp gas prices akron ohio


Despite being mathematically eliminated from the outright win a week ago, Cruz had appeared eager to take the fight all the way to the convention. His team executed a delegate selection plan that looked ready to ensure Cruz loyalists would deliver a win on a second or third ballot. But his losses in the Northeast last week followed by a bruising in Indiana on Tuesday convinced his team there was no way forward.

Cruz had a miserable final 48 hours on the trail in Indiana. His new running mate, Carly Fiorina, slipped and fell off stage in a moment that went viral online. He confronted a Trump supporter on camera and told him in a heated exchanged that, “He is playing you for a chump.” And Cruz interrupted a young heckler to scold him that, “In my household, when a child behaves that way, they get a spanking.”

Indeed, while Cruz had hoped to consolidate the Stop Trump movement behind him after winning in Wisconsin, he netted few new endorsements. Almost a year after he announced his candidacy, Cruz still had the backing of only four of his Senate Republican colleagues, less than 10 percent of the conference, and one of them (Lindsey Graham) likened it to picking poison over being shot and another (Jim Risch) wasn’t even sure his tepid approval qualified as an endorsement.

Josh Holmes, who served as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s chief of staff when Cruz arrived in the Senate in 2012, said Cruz was perhaps the lone top Republican politician in America who couldn’t rally congressional Republicans against Trump, a bombastic outsider whose heated rhetoric and unpredictability has turned off many GOP elites.

In early 2016, it had appeared that Cruz had executed masterfully his plan to consolidate conservatives and emerge as Trump’s main rival. In Iowa, he drove Govs. Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker out of the race before the caucuses — and then crushed the two reigning winners, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, on caucus day.

Even as he exited the race, Cruz had far surpassed most expectations in 2016, particularly in fundraising, as he tapped both big donors and an army of small ones and became one of the race’s best-financed candidates. His constellation of super PACs raised the second most to Jeb Bush among Republicans last year. And ahead of super Tuesday, his campaign bragged about more than 200,000 volunteers nationwide.

For a 45 year old only halfway through his first term in the Senate, those could be the building blocks of the future, especially for a Republican Party that, until 2016 at least, had long rewarded candidates seasoned by previous losing campaigns.

But this year, after Indiana, it simply was not clear where Cruz could have knocked Trump off his stride. Even anticipating a win in Nebraska, a state where Cruz might have fared well, Trump’s path to the 1,237 delegated needed to win the nomination was clear.

Cruz executed every available political maneuver in Indiana, hoping to turn his fortunes in a Midwestern state whose makeup he likened to his past landmark victories in Iowa and Wisconsin. The Kasich non-compete pact backfired, as the Ohio governor still told his supporters to vote for him even though he wasn’t campaigning there, limiting its impact. Trump, meanwhile, hammered his opponents as typical opportunistic politicians.

Republicans with tracking polls in Indiana said Trump’s decisive New York win on April 19 — he topped 60 percent statewide — eroded Cruz’s support among Hoosiers. One Republican tracking the race said Cruz had led Trump in their Indiana poll, 33 percent to 32 percent, in the first week of April. But that as of a week ago, Trump had opened up a 12-point lead, 43 percent to 31 percent, over Cruz.

Former Sen. Judd Gregg declared himself a “never” Cruz voter, calling him “a demagogue’s demagogue.” Two House committee chairman endorsed Trump in the last week, as seasoned Washington hands from John Feehery, a former top House GOP aide, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have embraced his inevitability.