Jeb Bush endorses Cruz's election bid

Updated: 2016-03-24 10:41


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Jeb Bush endorses Cruz's election bid

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at a campaign rally at Miami Dade College downtown campus in Miami, Florida, the United States, March 9, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON - Former Florida governor Jeb Bush on Wednesday endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz's 2016 White House bid, calling the darling of Tea Party "a consistent, principled conservative."

"Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential," said Bush in a statement on Wednesday.

Bush's endorsement came at a crucial juncture as Cruz was scrambling to convince mainstream Republicans, who are wary of the first-term Texas senator's reputation built on bashing the GOP establishment, that the moderate force within the party should join the conservative wing to rally around him.

Bush, who bowed out of his race last month after losing ground in early-voting primary contests, continued to blast his nemesis Donald Trump, urging the party to unite and "overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity" brought into the race by the New York billionaire developer.

On Wednesday, Cruz succeeded in denying Trump getting any delegate in the Utah Republican caucuses, a blow to Trump who sought to avoid a contested GOP convention in July.

Early results in Utah with 85 percent of the caucuses reporting as of 10 am EDT (1400 GMT) showed Cruz had already won a majority of 69 percent.

Cruz bagged all 40 delegates up for grabs after hitting the 50-percent level, according to rules in the Utah GOP caucuses.

While Cruz's big win in Utah did not widen his limited path to clinch GOP nomination before the party's convention, it made increasingly possible that he could stop Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates to win party nomination outright.