With an eye toward recovering lost momentum after bruising losses in the five Tuesday primaries, Ted Cruz is making what the campaign calls a “major announcement” in Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon.
Speculation on the 4 p.m. announcement has centered on a possible endorsement from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, however, Pence's office told Indiana's RTV6 he would not be at the Cruz rally. A vice presidential pick is another possibility for the announcement, with pundits prominently floating Cruz surrogate Carly Fiorina’s name.
Either way, the Texas senator hopes to shift the conversation away from front-runner Donald Trump’s five-state sweep on Tuesday as the two rivals battle for a win in Indiana next week. Trump leads Cruz 39-33 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has 19 percent in the polling average.
“Last night was Donald Trump’s night and today is Indiana’s day,” Cruz said Wednesday morning. “Indiana has a chance to speak not only for Hoosiers around the state but for people around the country.”
Trump leads Cruz in pledged delegates, 950-560, but Cruz’s strong ground operation has elected many delegate allies to the Republican Convention in July. Cruz, who is mathematically eliminated from winning the GOP nomination outright, is now basing his campaign on the theory that no candidate will get to the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Cruz believes the battle will proceed to a contested convention, where he hopes to triumph once some pledged delegates become unbound and are free to switch their votes.
While most presidential candidates wait until they have the nomination sewn up to announce a running mate, if Cruz were to select a vice presidential candidate in April – while he’s well behind in delegates – it would follow a pattern of somewhat unconventional campaigning.
The Texas senator became the first candidate to enter the 2016 race, making the announcement without employing the typical exploratory committee. Then, he kicked off his campaign at Liberty University in Virginia instead of holding the event in his home state of Texas.
Early on, while rival Republicans were distancing themselves from and attacking Trump, Cruz embraced the business mogul, even appearing at a public rally with him in Washington, D.C. While the relationship between the two soured once Cruz’s standing in the polls began to threaten Trump, the initial refusal to blast the billionaire stood out as a unique strategy in the 17-person field.