As he faces long odds in the Republican presidential race, Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] on Wednesday named Carly Fiorina as his running mate, saying he would make her his vice president if elected to the White House.
The Republican presidential candidate — struggling to stay alive and regain some momentum ahead of the last primaries of the contest — made the announcement during a rally in Indianapolis on Wednesday. It comes a day after Donald Trump won all five primaries on Tuesday.
Florina, 61, who endorsed Cruz, 45, in March and campaigned on his behalf, ran for the Republican nomination this year but dropped out after a disappointing finish in New Hampshire.
Cruz said: “For the 13 months of this race, there has been a proven, consistent, courageous fighter. A fighter who terrifies Hillary. And who will do the same to our enemies. And that’s why I am proud to announce Carly Fiorina as my vice presidential running mate.”
The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard was the Republican nominee in 2010 for the U.S. Senate in California, the state where 172 delegates will be up for grabs June 7.
In a statement released by Cruz’s campaign, Fiorina said: “Ted Cruz is a constitutional conservative who has made enemies in both parties standing up to the bipartisan corruption in Washington. He has fought to change the system. He kept his word to the people of Texas, and I know, if elected, he will keep his word and bring back American jobs, defend our nation, and protect our constitutional freedoms.”
As a presidential candidate, Fiorina routinely denied being interested in the vice presidency. Asked in January if she would accept the offer to be someone’s running mate, Fiorina said: ”No, I am not. I am not running for the vice presidency. I am running for the presidency, and the people who support me know I’m the most qualified candidate to be the president and they also know I’m the most qualified candidate to win the job, so that’s the job I’m going to go win.”
Traditionally, running mates are only named by the presumptive nominee ahead of the Republican convention. But there is precedent for doing it early: in 1976, Ronald Reagan named Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running mate before losing the nomination to Gerald Ford. No candidate has done it since.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized the move before Cruz announced it, tweeting: “Seems out of touch w/ reality to announce a VP nominee before securing 1237 delegates.”
Cruz is not mathematically able to win the nomination outright. His best hope is to keep Donald Trump from winning a majority of delegates and being able to win at a contested convention — with the help of someone like Fiorina.