POLITICS

Ted Cruz votes for himself in Texas then calls on rivals to drop out of the race

  • Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, accompanied by his daughter, signs in at a polling place to vote in the Texas primary,Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

    Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, accompanied by his daughter, signs in at a polling place to vote in the Texas primary,Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

  • El precandidato presidencial republicano Ted Cruz camina con su esposa Heidi y sus hijas Caroline, izquierda, y Catherine, para votar en las elecciones primarias de Texas el martes 1 de marzo de 2016 en Houston. (Foto AP/Pat Sullivan)

    El precandidato presidencial republicano Ted Cruz camina con su esposa Heidi y sus hijas Caroline, izquierda, y Catherine, para votar en las elecciones primarias de Texas el martes 1 de marzo de 2016 en Houston. (Foto AP/Pat Sullivan)

Ted Cruz had a message for his GOP rivals on Tuesday: Get out of the race.

After voting for himself in his home state of Texas, the conservative firebrand said that his rival hangers-on were just strengthening mogul Donald Trump, who has won three primaries and is expected to win nearly all Super Tuesday states.

“What Donald is benefiting from is a fractured opposition,” he said, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“It is all about delegates,” he said.

Cruz believes that come Wednesday morning, he and Trump will be way ahead of the rest of the remaining GOP field in the number of delegates.

Cruz won in the Iowa caucus, and has come in third in the other early contests so far.

A win in Texas, which has the largest number of delegates – 155 – of all the Super Tuesday states and doles them out at the congressional level, would prompt Cruz to say that he is the only GOP candidate who can truly compete with Trump for the nomination.

Although Marco Rubio has come in second in nearly all the primaries except in New Hampshire, Cruz has repeatedly stressed that he has not won any of them.

For his part, Rubio expresses certainty that he can get enough delegates to mount a challenge to Trump. He is the preferred candidate of the so-called GOP establishment, which does not care for either Cruz or Trump.

Rubio is particularly counting on his home state of Florida, whose March 15 primary is winner-take-all-delegates, to come through for him.

A wide-margin win in Texas over Trump would help Cruz for the moment. If he wins by a small margin or if Trump beats him, he’d have a hard time persuading others that he could beat Trump anywhere else in the nation, noted The Washington Post.

“Tomorrow morning, people’s assessments are going to be different. Everyone on Election Day says they will be there forever, but elections narrow the field, and we will see today, I believe, the field continuing to narrow,” he said.

“If you want to beat Donald Trump, we’ve got to get to a head-to-head, a one-on-one race,” he added. “If you’re tired of the insults, if you’re tired of the circus show, if you’re tired of the profanity and vulgarity, if you want a president who you know what he will do, then you have a clear choice in this race.”

Cruz and Rubio both stress that while the most recent national polls of GOP voters show that Trump has about 50 percent support, the rest do not back him. Each argues that the Trump non-supporters are split because there is not one alternative to the mogul for the GOP nomination.

Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have indicated that they will not leave the race if they win their home state, setting the stage for a possible fight at the party convention in Cleveland in the summer.

Cruz indicated that if he lost Texas, he would reevaluate his campaign.

While visiting San Antonio on Monday, Cruz said to reporters: "You can't beat Donald Trump if you can't win your home state," he said, according to Real Clear Politics.

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