May 3, 2016 7:07 PM
Cruz ends White House bid after losing to Trump in Indiana; Sanders tops Clinton
NH1 News Political Director
After losing by double digits to Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in Indiana's primary, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas Tuesday ended his bid for the White House.
And Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was projected by the news networks as the winner of Indiana's Democratic primary over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Speaking to supporters in Indianapolis, Cruz said "we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we got. But the voters chose another path. And so, with heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign. But hear me now, I am not suspending our fight for liberty."
In his speech, Cruz did not congratulate Trump. But he did take a veiled jab at his rival, saying "America is kind. We are not boastful or mean-spirited."
The AP and the news networks all projected Trump as the winner of Indiana's crucial primary. The calls were made moments after the remaining polling stations in the state that were open closed at 7pm eastern time.
Trump is now the all but certain GOP nominee. He won at least 51 of the 57 delegates up for grabs in Indiana. The victory moves him another large step towards reaching 1,237, the magic number of delegates needed for Trump to clinch the GOP nomination.
With his victory in Indiana, Trump needs to win just 43% of the remaining delegates to capture the nomination by the end of the primaries on June 7.
Speaking to supporters at Trump Tower in New York City, Trump praised Cruz, saying "Ted Cruz, I don’t know if he likes me or he doesn’t like me, but he’s one hell of a competitor, he’s one tough guy. And he’s got an amazing future, he’s got an amazing future. So I want to congratulate Ted."
"We're going to win in November," the real estate mogul added.
"This has been an amazing evening. I didn't expect this," Trump said.
He the said that it's time for the GOP to fall in line behind him.
"We want to bring unity to the Republican Party. We have to," Trump added, before targeting Clinton.
Indiana was the last stand for Cruz
With a conservative Republican primary electorate, Indiana was seen a must win state for Cruz, who spent nearly all of the past week in the state.
And a victory in Indiana was seen as the last chance for Cruz to prevent Trump from securing the nomination out right before the end of the primary season.
The only path to the nomination for Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the other remaining GOP presidential candidate, would have been preventing Trump from going over the top by the end of the primary calendar. That scenario could have possibly set up a contested Republican convention in Cleveland in July.
With 88% of the vote reported, Trump stood at 53.3%, with Cruz at 36.7% and Kasich, who didn't campaign in Indiana, at 7.5%.
Although Cruz dropped out of the race, it doesn't appear at this time that Kasich will also end his bid.
An hour before Cruz's announcement, Kasich campaign senior strategist John Weaver wrote in an email to supporters that "tonight’s results are not going to alter Gov. Kasich’s campaign plans."
"Gov. Kasich looks forward to continuing to compete with Donald Trump in the upcoming primaries through California on June 7th," Weaver added.
Upset in Democratic primary
With 81% of the vote reported in the Democratic race, Sanders was at 52.7%, with Clinton at 47.3%.
While Sanders upset Clinton, the former secretary of state remains the all but certain Democratic presidential nominee.
But Sanders told the Associated Press that he won a "great upset victory" and he expects "more victories in the weeks to come."
Sanders added that "the Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over. They're wrong."
Sanders said he has an "uphill climb" to the nomination but he's "in this campaign to win and we are going to fight until the last vote is cast."
Donald Trump speaks to supporters at Trump Tower in New York City on May 3, 2016