Ted Cruz, the insurgent Texan whose presidential campaign was fueled by disdain for Washington, dropped out of the 2016 race Tuesday night, removing the last major hurdle in Donald Trump’s quest to become the Republican nominee for president.
Cruz’s decision came after losing overwhelmingly to Trump in the Indiana primary, all but ensuring that real estate mogul will claim his party’s mantle at the Republican National Convention in July.
The exit comes after a series of desperate moves to keep his candidacy afloat in recent weeks, including naming former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate in a bizarre announcement where Cruz spoke for a half hour and Fiorina sang to his young daughters.
In his last day on the campaign trail, Cruz unloaded on Trump, calling the businessman a”pathological liar” and a “narcissist” who was proud of being a “serial philanderer.” The attacks were reminiscent of the broadsides Sen. Marco Rubio launched against Trump in the waning days of his own presidential campaign — and a far cry from the lavish praise Cruz heaped on Trump for most of 2015, declaring, “I like Donald Trump.”
Cruz’s campaign hit its apex in February when he resoundingly won the Iowa caucuses, due in large part to months of cultivating grassroots support in the state. But it soon became a roller-coaster ride of crushing losses in states where Cruz expected to do well, including South Carolina and Georgia, followed by resounding wins in his home state of Texas and Wisconsin. Cruz’s campaign used its grasp of the delegate process to beat Trump at state conventions where delegates were chosen, but it was not enough to overcome the businessman’s tally and strength with the electorate.