Ted Cruz lost the Indiana primary resoundingly to Donald Trump on Tuesday, clearing Trump's path to the Republican presidential nomination and prompting Cruz to withdraw from the campaign.
"Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we've got," Cruz told supporters in Indianapolis. "But the voters chose another path."
The Texas senator said he suspended his campaign "with a heavy heart," because he no longer has a "viable path" to the nomination. That makes Trump the almost-certain nominee, though he has yet to garner the 1,237 delegates needed.
"When we launched this campaign 13 months ago, we saw a movement grow. The pundits all said it was hopeless," Cruz said. "I am so grateful to you.... The movement that you have started is extraordinary."
That leaves a single symbolic rival to Trump: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has remained in the race even though he only won his home state and has fewer delegates than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who ended his candidacy March 15.
Sen. @TedCruz should be proud of his strong and disciplined campaign. Texas is lucky to have you. Best wishes going forward. -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) May 4, 2016
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made it clear Tuesday night that Trump is the party's choice (with a typo in the tweet to boot):
From New York, Trump congratulated Cruz, whom he had branded "Lyin' Ted" during the race and with whom he traded forceful accusations earlier Tuesday. By evening, Trump called Cruz a "hell of a competitor."
"He is a tough, smart guy," Trump said. "He's got an amazing future."
The celebrity businessman seemed awed by his own success.
"It's been some unbelievable day and evening and year," Trump said. "It's a beautiful think to watch and a beautiful thing to behold, and we're going to make America great again."
"We are going to win bigly," he added.