Skip to main content

As Indiana Primary Nears, Gov. Mike Pence Says He'll Vote for Cruz

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Friday announced he would be voting for Ted Cruz for president, giving the Texas senator a much-needed boost four days before a potentially make-or-break primary for his campaign.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters during his five state primary night rally…

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Friday announced he would be voting for Ted Cruz for president, giving the Texas senator a much-needed boost four days before a potentially make-or-break primary for his campaign.

“I'm not against anybody, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary," Pence said in an interview on Indianapolis radio.

Pence's announcement was something of a surprise. Up until Friday morning, it was not clear whether the governor, who's in the middle of a tough re-election battle, would announce who he would back in the presidential race.

That was despite the urging of Cruz supporters who see the Indiana primary as perhaps Cruz's last stand in his quest to deny frontrunner Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination. Cruz has said that if Trump loses the Hoosier State, he will not reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July.

Read MoreThe Texas Tribune's 2016 Presidential Election Coverage

Pence’s support was less than full-throated, and it was not immediately clear how much he planned to help Cruz ahead of the primary. Cruz’s campaign called it an endorsement; Pence did not use the word.

Before he announced his support for Cruz, Pence acknowledged Trump's impact on the race. 

"I particularly want to commend Donald Trump, who I think has given voice to the frustrations of millions of working Americans with the lack of progress in Washington, D.C.," Pence said. 

Speaking with reporters Friday morning in Indianapolis, before Pence said he was voting for Cruz, Cruz called the governor a "positive, optimistic, unifying force" whose support would show the GOP is unifying behind Cruz against Trump.

“I am honored to have Mike’s endorsement,” Cruz said in a campaign news release that came out Friday afternoon. “Mike has been an important voice for conservatives during his time as Governor. The success of Indiana shows that conservative ideas work.”

Pence had been courted by the entire GOP field, with all three candidates holding private meetings with him earlier this month. Cruz had huddled with Pence at the governor's residence during a trip last week to Indianapolis. 

Cruz was scheduled to continue barnstorming Indiana on Friday, with stops planned in Indianapolis, Evansville and Jeffersonville. Carly Fiorina, his newly named running mate, was set to join him for some of the swing. 

Support public-service journalism that gets the context right

Yes, I'll donate today