First Look: Ted Cruz to Pick Up Major South Carolina Endorsement from Charlie Condon Ahead of Charleston Debate

Ted Cruz Caledonian-Record,Paul HayesAP Photo
Caledonian-Record,Paul Hayes/AP
Washington, DC

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will pick up a major endorsement in the all-important first-in-the-South Palmetto State from former two-term Attorney General Charlie Condon on Wednesday, Breitbart News has learned exclusively from a source on the Cruz campaign.

Condon served as 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) South Carolina campaign chairman that year. Condon was also the first-ever chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Condon will say in a release on Wednesday, obtained early by Breitbart News:

Ted Cruz’s fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law makes him a welcome figure after eight years of Obama’s lawlessness. No one has fought harder to protect the rights and freedoms of Americans than Ted Cruz. From Texas to Washington, in the court room and on the Senate floor, he has been the leading voice opposing Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, usurpation of legislative power, and selective enforcement of the law. With Ted Cruz as President, we will have someone in office who respects not only his constitutional authority but also the limitations of that power that guarantee our liberty. I am proud to support Cruz for President.

In the statement to be released on Wednesday, Cruz will thank Condon for joining his campaign.

“I am honored to have Charlie’s support,” Cruz will say. “He has been an incredibly strong warrior in the fight to uphold the law and protect our freedoms. He is an important and influential voice in a critical early state in this campaign. I look forward to having his help as we connect with South Carolina voters.”

Cruz, along with billionaire Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), have emerged as the top tier of GOP presidential contenders in 2016. Cruz and Trump have been duking it out for some time on the trail, but Rubio has been struggling to gain traction and has been slipping away in recent weeks since his poor showing at the mid-December debate in Las Vegas.

Cruz’s pickup of Condon, McCain’s 2008 South Carolina campaign chairman, can’t be understated. Condon helped deliver South Carolina to McCain, effectively securing the nomination for the Arizona Senator from a then-surging former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee had won Iowa a few weeks earlier, but McCain came back to win New Hampshire and then sealed the deal in South Carolina. While Huckabee remained in the race much longer—and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stayed in for a bit longer too—it was South Carolina where McCain essentially sealed the nomination by setting him up for a bigger win in Florida. After winning in South Carolina, McCain never lost another state.

Cruz is doing well in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucuses which will vote on Feb. 1. Eight days later on Feb. 9, New Hampshire citizens will vote. South Carolina votes 11 days later on Feb. 20. Recent polling in South Carolina shows, as it does in Iowa, a dead heat between Cruz and Trump for the lead.

The timing for Cruz’s pickup couldn’t be better: GOP candidates are headed to the Palmetto State on Thursday for the next Fox Business Network Debate moderated by Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo. The debate will be in Charleston–and then many of the candidates, including Cruz, will head to Myrtle Beach over the weekend for the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention.