Jeb Bush endorsed his former rival Ted Cruz on Wednesday, saying the Texas senator is the candidate most likely to uphold conservative principles.
"I wanted you all to be the first to know that today I am endorsing Ted Cruz for president," Bush said in a statement released on Facebook
. "Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests, including yesterday’s Utah caucus."
Bush went on to say that Republican front-runner Donald Trump has brought "divisiveness and vulgarity" into the political arena, all but ensuring a general election victory for Hillary Clinton should he be the nominee.
Gathered below are six reasons Jeb's endorsement helps Ted Cruz.
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1. Jeb has many conservative accomplishments as Florida governor
— As a first-term senator who rode the Tea Party wave from Texas to the Capitol, Cruz has the right enthusiasm, but hasn't yet notched the kind of accomplishments Bush achieved in his eight years as governor. Cruz has a record as Texas solicitor general, but he'll get a big boost from having Florida's first two-term governor and his weighty executive record.
2. Jeb is widely respected by Republicans donors
— Along with his associated Right to Rise PAC, Bush raised well over $100 million during his bid for the Republican nomination. Mother Jones reported that the record haul
was "more than almost every presidential candidate has ever raised for their primary campaigns." By endorsing Cruz, Bush is giving the signal to some of the party's biggest donors to take their war chests to his campaign, and it's simultaneously hurting the Kasich campaign's ability to fundraise.
3. The Bush family has a national network of supporters
— Money alone cannot win an election, and — as Cruz demonstrated right off the bat in the Iowa caucus — tapping into the network of bottom-up grassroots organizing can often ensure a victory. Because Jeb's father and brother were both presidents, not only will the Cruz campaign now benefit from the Bush's contacts in the organizing world, but likely from the family's network of advisors and strategists too.
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4. Jeb gives the Cruz campaign the balance it needs
— Cruz has long been considered by many to be too conservative and unlikeable to win, but Jeb clearly disagrees with that sentiment and sees a true winner. Cruz's reputation as a fire-starter will be moderated by Bush's steady and so-called "establishment" record of getting things done.
5. Jeb's endorsement gives a jolt to the primaries
— Bush's endorsement suggests to the voting public that the race is not over, as some pundits say, and that Cruz can still win it. By telling his one-time constituency to vote for Cruz, Bush is at the very least helping the so-called #NeverTrump contingent keep Donald Trump from the delegate majority he needs to clinch the nomination, and the move could propel Cruz into a contested convention with his own hefty delegate count.
6. Jeb’s endorsement could bring about a head-to-head race
— Bush's endorsement is a subtle suggestion that Kasich should leave the race. By doing so, Kasich would cease to split the non-Trump vote, and allow Cruz to go head-to-head with the front-runner. Trump has gotten less than 50 percent of the vote in every state he's won, suggesting that he might be defeated in a one-on-one contest.
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