Wisconsin Gov. Walker Endorses Cruz for President | NBC Chicago
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Endorses Cruz for President

Walker called Cruz a "decent man" and said he was proud to endorse him

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is shown in this 2015 file photo.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president, a week before his state's primary.

    Walker said Tuesday that it was time to elect a "strong new leader," and called Cruz a "decent man" who could beat Hillary Clinton.

    Walker made his choice known on a Milwaukee talk radio show whose conservative host had already endorsed Cruz. Walker, whose short-lived run for president ended in September, had previously said he would back whatever candidate is chosen as the GOP nominee. But he'd sent signals he intended to back Cruz.

    Cruz said in a response on Twitter that he was "honored" to win the endorsement.

    It's unclear how much Walker's backing will help Cruz in the state ahead of its April 5 primary. Walker's approval rating hasn't exceeded 40 percent in over a year.

    Walker said last week that Cruz was the only candidate who had a chance at beating front-runner Donald Trump. When Walker ended his presidential bid, he called on others to join him so it would be easier to take on Trump.

    On Monday, Cruz had heaped praise on his former rival, calling his fight against unions inspiring.

    "I am a big, big fan of Scott Walker's," Cruz told reporters before a campaign stop in central Wisconsin. "He is a terrific governor and strong conservative. ... Of course, I would welcome Scott Walker's support."

    Cruz pointed to Walker's career-defining push against public-sector unions in 2011, a fight that Walker won and that led to an effort to recall him from office. Walker won that election in 2012, making him the first governor to defeat such an effort, raising his national profile in advance of his failed presidential run.

    Cruz said Walker's fight with the unions showed that special interests could be defeated.

    "It inspired people all over the country, it inspired millions, it inspired me," Cruz said. "It is that spirit, that fight, that's at the heart of what our campaign is all about."

    When he was running for president, Walker argued that the next president should be a governor with executive experience. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while campaigning last week in Wisconsin, said he had no idea whom Walker was going to back.

    Trump made clear in a message he posted on Twitter that he wasn't expecting to land Walker's endorsement.

    "After the way I beat Gov. Scott Walker (and Jeb, Rand, Marco and all others) in the Presidential Primaries, no way he would ever endorse me!" Trump tweeted.