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Bush backs Cruz: 'A consistent, principled conservative'

By Ed Adamczyk
Bush backs Cruz: 'A consistent, principled conservative'
Donald Trump, Sen.Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, left to right, participate in a debate on December 15, 2015. On Wednesday Bush, who suspended his campaign a mobnth ago, endorsed Cruz. Pool Photo by Ruth Fremson/UPI | License Photo

HOUSTON, March 23 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz received a boost Wednesday with an endorsement from former candidate Jeb Bush.

The Texas senator won the Utah primary Tuesday and, with the backing of Bush, now has some establishment Republicans and new funding sources on his side.

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Whether there remains time for Cruz to stop the growing delegate count of candidate Donald Trump is still open to question. Bush, who left the GOP race a month ago, never disguised his contempt for Trump.

"Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests. For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President [Barack] Obama's failed policies," a statement from Bush, released Wednesday, says.

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Despite his position as senator, Cruz has been pictured as an outsider and himself a divisive force as a candidate. While the endorsement of Bush, a squarely establishment figure in GOP politics, indicates the interest of former candidates lining up to stop Trump, it may come too late to have any impact. Neil Bush, Jeb's brother, joined the Cruz finance team earlier in March.

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The endorsement is also a veiled suggestion that Ohio Gov. John Kasich should leave the race for the nomination. While Kasich is not mentioned in the Bush statement, it is an example of another GOP candidate tossing his support to Cruz despite differences in policy and style. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., another former candidate whose differences with Trump are evident, has also endorsed Cruz.

Bush will "actively support Sen. Cruz's bid," the news website Politico quoted a source close to Bush on Wednesday, but no plans for appearances or fundraisers have yet been scheduled.

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