Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who dropped out of the presidential race in September, Sunday night said he will back fellow Texan Ted Cruz, who served during his administration as solicitor general between 2003 and 2008, for the GOP nomination.
"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
, noting that he now sees the race between Cruz and Donald Trump.
Perry will announce his support for Cruz in a video statement being released by the Cruz campaign Monday, reports Fox News
. The former governor had appearances set for Fox's "Fox & Friends" program and on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to talk about his decision.
The former governor told Politico said that he's found during talks on the telephone and a day in December when he drove around in his hometown with Cruz that the outspoken senator respects the Tenth Amendment, "knows what he does now know" and his views are more conservative than Trump's.
He told Politico that when they met, he found Cruz to be someone who is "likely shy" deep down, but still "one of the best listeners I've ever dealt with in the political realm," a contrast to what he'd believed based on "media narrative."
"I really didn't want to talk about policy, I didn't want to talk politics, I didn't want to talk philosophy," he said about their December meeting. "I wanted to talk about him, who he was, see if I could get a handle on Ted Cruz the man, not Cruz the caricature I'd seen through the political lens. What I found was a very different person than what I had been led to believe."
The former governor will hit the campaign trail with Cruz on Tuesday in Iowa and then on Wednesday will join Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King on Wednesday, before both men join Cruz in Des Moines for a rally on Wednesday night.
His endorsement marks the second one to come from a former GOP presidential candidate, with the first coming from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's bid for the nomination.
Perry said he believes Cruz will be able to get things accomplished as president, even though he has a reputation in the Senate of being difficult to get along with.
"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 told Politico.
When Perry was running, he had made statements that first-term senators like Cruz do not have the same experience in leading that governors do. However, he told Politico that he now knows the GOP voters don't value such experience this cycle.
"Gov. Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Jeb's barely making an impact out there — those are very skilled, very successful, very experienced governors," Perry said. "But the electorate doesn't want that. That's why we have elections, why we democratically select leaders."
Perry was the first candidate to drop out of the initial 17-person race, suspending his campaign on Sept. 11. Four other candidates, Graham, Walker, Jindal, and former New York Gov. George Pataki have also dropped out of the race.
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