Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Friday commended GOP front-runner Donald Trump for having "given voice to the frustration of millions" and said he's grateful for Trump's strong stand for jobs in his state, but said his vote and endorsement would be going to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who he praised as a stalwart conservative.
"I see Ted Cruz as a principled conservative who's dedicated his career to advocating the [Ronald] Reagan agenda," Pence said on the Greg Garrison radio show on Indianapolis radio station WIBC-FM
shortly after noon, in an announcement that was confirmed about an hour earlier in the day.
Pence said that he's been a Reagan conservative for years after starting out as being active in Democratic politics until he heard the former California governor's agenda of "principles, of less government, less taxes, traditional values and a strong military, and I was drawn to the Republican Party."
Those principles have "animated my service," said the governor and he has continued to look for "opportunities to support men and women who have the courage to stand on those Reagan principles," and Cruz meets that criteria.
"I really admire the way Ted Cruz has been willing to stand up for taxpayers in opposing runaway spending, deficits and debt, calling for and leading on repealing Obamacare," Pence continued. "And I also have to tell you I'm, I'm very impressed with Ted Cruz's devotion and knowledge of the Constitution of the United States, of the freedoms that are enshrined there in our bill of rights from our liberties to our second amendment."
Pence also said he admired Cruz's pro-life stance.
"It's for those reasons and just as much in support of the principles that have always animated my public service that I'm voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary," said Pence.
Pence also praised John Kasich,who is governor of the neighboring state of Ohio, but touted Cruz for showing the "courage of his convictions."
"It's not a popular thing in Washington, D.C., to take on the leadership of your own party," said Pence. "I know that firsthand; I did it when I was there. I opposed runaway federal spending whether it was a Republican administration or congress or whether a Democrat administration. He's been willing to do that."
However, Pence encouraged all his state's residents to make their own decisions in the upcoming primary, "but for me, I've always thought to lead is to choose. And here at this time of choosing when people all across America are looking to Indiana to make a decision, I just wanted to make my decision known."
But no matter who wins the nomination, Pence said that he'll work that hard to support that person.
"In Indiana, we're at record employment, more Hoosiers working than ever before, we have balanced budgets, record investment in education and infrastructure, but how much more we could do if we had a Republican administration working with a Republican congress," said Pence. "At the end of the day I'm very confident that our party going to come together around our nominee, whoever that might be, and we're going to deliver a great victory for all the people of the united States."
Earlier in the day, several media outlets, including the Fox News "America's Newsroom" show, confirmed earlier Friday that Pence would tout Ted Cruz in his "major announcement" teased by an Indianapolis radio station earlier in the morning.
ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl reported it on Twitter:
Even before the announcement and Fox's confirmation, Cruz was full of praise for the Hoosier state leader while denying he knew who Pence had picked.
Earlier Friday, Garrison tweeted a tease of the governor's announcement, which was scheduled for his show at 12:06 p.m.:
"I didn't see the tweet Greg Garrison sent out of a major announcement coming on the show, at 12:06 p.m.," Cruz, speaking with running mate Carly Fiorina, told reporters. "I am going to be listening and encourage other folks to listen as well."
But at the same time, he said, he has "tremendous respect for the governor, an incredible leader for the state of Indiana."
Pence, said Cruz, "has demonstrated when you cut taxes, reduce regulations, the result is jobs, we have seen jobs, private-sector jobs growing in Indiana even as the rest of the country has been suffering."
Indiana is seeing "remarkable growth," Cruz continued. "Imagine how good the job growth in Indiana is if you don't have the federal government, like an 800-pound weight like job creation or driving jobs overseas like the jobs that carry, going to Mexico because of Obama administration taxes driving jobs overseas."
Pence is an "optimistic positive unifying force, a strong leader who I respect," Cruz continued. "He was a strong leader in Congress, standing up and defending conservative principles, defending the Constitution, and the governor has been an extraordinary governor. I look forward with anticipation to whatever announcement he makes."
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