Update May 5, 2016: Ohio Governor John Kasich has announced he is also dropping his bid for the presidency, after winning only his home state of Ohio. This leaves Trump as the only GOP candidate still in the race.
By Miriam Raftery
May 3, 2016 (San Diego) –Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced that he is pulling out of the Republican presidential race. Cruz made the announcement after losing the Indiana primary, all but assuring that Donald Trump will win the GOP nomination.
Cruz said, “From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed. With a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
The surprise announcement came just days after Cruz announced that Carly Fiorina would be his running mate if he won the nomination and pledged to fight on until the convention.
Although Cruz was mathematically eliminated after last week’s primary results from winning the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican convention, he had banked hopes on blocking Trump from receiving enough votes to do so either. On a second ballot, delegates would have been free to switch allegiances and support another candidate.
On Tuesday, even as voting was underway in Indiana, Cruz blasted Trump as a “serial philanderer,” a “pathological liar,” and a “narcissist.”
But despite the Cruz campaign pulling out all the stops, Trump won Indiana with 53% of the vote, taking all 51 of the state’s delegates. Polls showed Trump with a strong lead in California, the largest state yet to vote.
Despite Cruz’s earlier derogatory remarks about Trump, Trump showed graciousness after learning of his last viable rival’s exit from the race. He called Cruz’s decision a “brave thing to do” for party unity and called Cruz “one hell of a competitor,” then praised Cruz as a “smart” and “tough guy” with an “amazing future ahead of him.
He then vowed to shift his focus toward defeating Hillary Clinton, the leading contender to win the Democratic nomination.