Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz has earned the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly (CRA), a group former President Ronald Reagan once called “the conscience of the Republican Party.”
In a statement released by the Cruz campaign on Sunday, the CRA announced that two-thirds of its voting members endorsed Cruz on the first ballot during its convention in Orange County last weekend, marking the first time in 20 years that the organization has endorsed a presidential candidate on the first ballot.
CRA President Tom Hudson said that Cruz earned the group’s endorsement “because he is the proven, consistent conservative.”
“Cruz is a hero to the conservative movement and he’s right in line with what we need in California and nationwide,” Hudson added. “The conscience of the Republican Party has spoken.”
Michael Schroeder, a former California Republican Assembly president and the current co-chair and political director of Cruz for President California, said the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia played a role in the organization’s decision.
“Particularly given the recent passing of conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia, our choice today was an easy one,” Schroeder said. “Everyone trusts Ted Cruz to appoint Justice Scalia’s successor.”
The CRA describes itself as California’s “oldest and most influential volunteer Republican organization,” and says its endorsement “is a coveted privilege for those candidates who meet our high standards — conservative, principled, electable and the overwhelming choice of our membership.”
Cruz was in Nevada on Monday, where poll averages show Republican frontrunner Donald Trump with a commanding 20-point lead ahead of Tuesday’s critical GOP caucus. Cruz will hope for a strong showing against rival Sen. Marco Rubio in what will likely be a heated battle for second place.