Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who dropped out of the presidential race four months ago, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
“Of those individuals who have a chance to win the Republican primary, at this juncture, from my perspective, Ted Cruz is by far the most consistent conservative in that crowd,” Perry told Politico Sunday. “And that appears to be down to two people."
Perry, who also ran for president in 2012, has been a harsh critic of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who is now in a one-two battle with Cruz for Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses Feb. 1.
In a video released by the Cruz campaign, Perry said, “I’m here to stress to you how important it is for conservatives to rally together and support a consistent conservative candidate who’ll take on Washington, who can defeat the Democrat nominee.”
Cruz said in a press release, “Gov. Rick Perry is a friend and a remarkable public servant,” said Cruz. “He is a proud veteran who bravely served our nation, and he was an extraordinary governor of Texas. It was an honor to serve under him during my time as Texas’ Solicitor General.”
The former Texas governor will campaign with Cruz in Iowa this week, according to Politico, and will appear at a Des Moines rally Wednesday night with Cruz and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
The endorsement comes after a hard week for Cruz on the campaign trail when Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Cruz should be defeated for calling for elimination of a federal mandate for ethanol and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed Trump. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, appeared at a rally with Trump - though did not formally endorse him - and GOP elder statesman former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, the 1996 presidential nominee, said Cruz’s selection would be “cataclysmic.”
Perry’s support may help blunt criticism from fellow Republicans that Cruz does not work well with others. Trump has said several times of Cruz, “He’s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him.”
Perry said that early on in his 14 years as governor, he, too, ran into opposition because he vetoed several bills. He said that Cruz, if elected, would be able to work with lawmakers.
“You’ll have with Ted Cruz that same result of, senators and others in the Washington establishment that are mad at him, find him to be hard to work with, they will find a way to work with him because they know he means what he says he means,” he said.