Columbus, Ohio – Texas Senator Ted Cruz endorsed former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel Monday in the heated Republican primary for an open seat in the U.S. Senate, a potentially crucial campaign boost, just as the early voting on the battlefield in the Midwest will begin.
Cruz’s decision could be particularly valuable among conservative voters given the no-opportunity race for Donald Trump, who has yet to get involved, though candidates are working hard to woo him — and he may not be.
Cruz, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, which Trump won and could run again in 2024, is one of the highest-profile Republicans in the Senate. He and Mandel share an affinity for exploiting cultural differences for political ends.
Polls show that Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons is easily edging out Mandel at the top of the crowded GOP field, who is vying to replace retired Republican Senator Rob Portman. Also running in the May 3 primary are former Republican state chairwoman Jane Timken, author and venture capitalist JD Vance, state senator Matt Dolan, and entrepreneurs Mark Pukita and Neil Patel.
Early voting starts on Tuesday.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Cruz said he voted for Mandel because he will oppose “radical Democrats” who seek to exploit the nation’s crises “to bring socialism to America.”
“As a United States Marine, Josh is a proven champion of our American way of life, a champion of the unborn, and a staunch defender of our religious freedoms,” Cruz said.
In an interview, Mandel said that if elected, he looks forward to “backing up conservative fighters like Ted Cruz.”
“As we’ve seen in his 10 years in the Senate, he takes on muddy Republicans just as quickly as he does left-wing Democrats,” Mandel said. “Because for Ted and for me, this isn’t about (a) Republicans versus Democrats, shirts versus skins. It’s about standing up for the Constitution, standing up for traditional American values, and saving the country for our children and grandchildren.”
Cruz made a number of recommendations in this year’s primary as he looks to the future. For the Senate, he supports Pennsylvania businessman David McCormick and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
The conservative group Club for Growth helped elect Cruz in a hard-fought race in 2012 and is working to bring Mandel into office this year. President David McIntosh said the group’s polls put Gibbons and Mandel head-to-head.
“One of the things we’ve seen, probably after Trump, is that an endorsement from Ted Cruz signals that the person he’s supporting is a true believer and a fighter for the things they believe in,” he said he.
Mandel was also supported by North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who has been criticized by a broader constituency of Republicans for her recent statements, including one in which he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “thug.” Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a conservative Cruz ally, also supports Mandel.
Vance is supported by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Gibbons has the support of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Portman endorsed Timken in February, as did former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway. Timken also has the support of Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
Colvin reported from New York.
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/04/04/cruz-endorses-josh-mandel-in-ohios-crowded-senate-primary/ Cruz endorses Josh Mandel in Ohio’s packed Senate primary