One of the remarkable things about the run Ted Cruz has compiled is that he has done it on the strength largely of state and local endorsements. We are of course getting word that that might be set to change tomorrow, but for now, Cruz has garnered a major Mississippi endorsement on the eve of the Mississippi primary: Governor Phil Bryant.
“It’s time for Republicans to join together and unite the party for the good of our state and our nation,” Bryant said in a statement. “I urge my fellow Mississippians to join me in standing behind Ted Cruz tomorrow.”
Cruz’s campaign has been bearish on its chances in Mississippi, with the campaign’s chief strategist Jason Johnson telling donors last week that it was surprisingly a “big question mark” given that it is more “populist than conservative.”
Campaigning near Jackson on Monday, Cruz called Mississippi a “battleground” and characterized GOP front-runner Donald Trump as his “leading competitor in this state.”
This can be seen as nothing other than ongoing rejection of Trump as the front runner by pretty much every elected Republican on the planet, and further confirmation that Ted Cruz is perceived as being in the best position to stop it. Cruz is right: his odds in Mississippi remain long, but the last-minute endorsement of Bryant could help Cruz mount a last minute charge like he did in Louisiana.
Bryant is tremendously popular in Mississippi, sporting a 72% approval rating last time it was polled. I’m not sure what weight endorsements carry in this day and age, but Bryant’s is the biggest possible get on the eve of a major election in Mississippi.