Rice political scientist available to comment on Cruz choosing Fiorina as running mate

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


David Ruth

Amy McCaig

Rice political scientist available to comment on Cruz choosing Fiorina as running mate

HOUSTON – (April 27, 2016) – As U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign faces a must-win Indiana primary May 3, multiple news sources report that he is planning to name former Hewlett Packard CEO and former GOP presidential rival Carly Fiorina as his running mate, even as he still trails GOP frontrunner and New York businessman Donald Trump in delegates. Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, is available to comment on this unexpected move from Cruz.

jonesJones said that the Cruz campaign is in “do or die” territory facing Indiana, which means it is time for them to pull out all the stops including pre-emptively naming his vice-presidential nominee for the general election in November.

“Cruz realizes that if Trump wins in Indiana, that will not only aid Trump mathematically in the delegate hunt, but will demoralize Cruz donors and supporters on the ground and will lead at least some members of the ‘Never Trump’ camp to begin to reach out to Trump based on the logic that his nomination is becoming inevitable,” Jones said.

Jones added that at this point, Cruz can’t leave anything on the table.

“This is one of the last remaining arrows in his quiver,” Jones said.

Jones noted that while things may seem rather dark for Cruz right now, all it takes is a victory in Indiana to move him from the outside to the inside.

“If Cruz can keep Trump from winning on the first ballot in Cleveland, it will favor Cruz on subsequent ballots,” Jones said. “He needs to keep Trump as far below the magic number of 1,237 as possible, and this includes winning on Tuesday.”

A candidate must have 1,237 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination outright. Currently Trump has 954; Cruz has 562.

Jones also noted that Cruz choosing Fiorina as his nominee also bolsters Cruz’s narrative that he is the only candidate capable of defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the fall.

“If you’re running against the first female major party nominee, you simply can’t run an all-male ticket,” Jones said. “It was probably inevitable that Cruz’s ticket would be a parity ticket.”

Jones said that choosing Fiorina also reinforces a broader message that Trump’s favorability ratings among women are abysmal, which Jones said is “one of the principal reasons he will have little to no chance of defeating Clinton in the fall.”

Jones is a leading expert on Texas politics. He has been quoted nationally about Cruz’s political career, which he has followed extensively since Cruz’s days as solicitor general of Texas to the launching of a long-shot U.S. Senate bid to today. To speak with Jones, contact him directly at 832-466-6535.

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Jones in the news:

Fox 26: Analysts say Cruz poised to capture nomination at convention after Wisconsin win

Bloomberg Politics: Surging Cruz is Big Oil’s new crush as donors cool to Bush

La Voz: Comienza la votación anticipada y podría decidir las primarias en Texas antes del Súper Martes

Related materials:

Mark Jones biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/mark-p-jones/

Mark Jones Twitter handle: @MarkPJonesTX

Mark Jones headshot: http://news.rice.edu/files/2014/09/mark-jones.jpg

Photo credit: Rice University.

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.