We reported earlier this week that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz was expected to reveal multiple endorsements from fellow Senators this week. It appears that Utah Sen. Mike Lee will be the first.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee will endorse Ted Cruz for president on Thursday afternoon, two sources with kwledge of Lee’s plans told BuzzFeed News.
Lee was one of five senators — three of whom are running for president — not to vote on a Senate bill about heroin treatment on Thursday morning in Washington.
Lee, a Tea Party stalwart and former Constitutional lawyer, was Cruz’s top Senate ally in the 2013 effort to defund Obamacare, which resulted in a 16-day government shutdown. The episode turned Cruz into a right-wing rock star, but it also earned him many Republican enemies on Capitol Hill, and until now he hasn’t received the endorsement of a single Senate colleague. Lee will be the first sitting senator to formally back Cruz’s candidacy.
Lee opted to stay on the sidelines for most of the 2016 primary race, which has featured three candidates whom he considers to be his closest friends in the Senate: Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.
Sen. Lee’s endorsement is the latest signal that the so-called Republican establishment is beginning to coalesce around Cruz, perhaps acknowledging that he is the best hope for beating frontrunner Donald Trump.
Lee’s endorsement could have proved especially useful to Sen. Marco Rubio, whose campaign is on life support after poor primary showings but has been polling well in Lee’s home state of Utah. His decision to back Cruz at this point is perhaps another nail in the Rubio campaign coffin.
So, what do y’all think of Sen. Lee’s move?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]