Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave a last-minute endorsement to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on Sunday, six days away from the May 8 convention that will determine the Republican candidate for the 2021 governor’s race.
The Texas Republican plans to campaign with Youngkin, a former CEO of the Carlyle Group, at various events during the final week leading up to Saturday’s vote.
“Glenn is the best chance Republicans have at winning in Virginia this year,” Cruz contends in a video announcing his endorsement:
Youngkin said in a statement, “It’s such an honor to have the support of Ted Cruz, a true conservative champion.”
“We’re running the most dynamic grassroots campaign Virginia has ever seen, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to have him join me on the trail in the final days,” he added.
Youngkin, who built his success through private equity and has been able to self-fund much of his campaign, has promoted himself as a political outsider and recently vowed not to accept his $175,000 governor’s salary if elected.
Cruz, who has been friends with Youngkin for years, asked Virginians to “put Glenn Youngkin down as your first choice for governor when you vote on May 8.”
The winner of Saturday’s convention, who will be determined through ranked-choice voting, must receive 50 percent of the vote to secure the nomination. A record 54,000 delegates have signed up to participate at multiple polling locations in the remote-style event, Virginia Republican Party chair Richard Anderson announced this weekend.
Other Republican candidates who have made a presence on the campaign trail include former Virginia Speaker Kirk Cox, a longtime state lawmaker who recently openly asked voters to consider him as a second-choice option — if they were not choosing him as their number one — because of the high likelihood of there being more than one round of vote tallying.
Entrepreneur Pete Snyder, another candidate who, like Youngkin, markets himself as a political outsider and is running a “conservative outlaw” tour, is the only other Republican contender who has been able to keep pace with Youngkin’s fundraising. State Sen. Amanda Chase, who has been somewhat of a polarizing figure throughout the process, has sought to make the case that she is a “firebrand Republican” who has been called “Trump in heels.”
Among the Democrat contenders, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a Clinton ally and former Democratic National Committee chair, is a clear frontrunner given his name recognition and fundraising abilities.
Youngkin’s support from Cruz is perhaps one of the most high-profile endorsements of the race, though Youngkin has also received backing from the popular radio host Hugh Hewitt and the Middle Resolution political action committee.
“Republicans in Virginia are unifying behind us as more and more realize that unlike the party insiders and political hacks, I’m a leader they can trust who will win in November,” Youngkin stated. “That’s why we’ve won multiple straw polls, raised the most money, and registered the most delegates, and I can’t wait to get to work for the people of Virginia and deliver conservative solutions as governor.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].