U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, looking to slow front-runner Donald Trump’s momentum, was expected to announce on Wednesday that former business executive Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential running mate if he wins his party’s nomination, media reports said.
The reports by WMUR, an ABC station in Manchester, New Hampshire, and other news outlets followed a statement from Cruz that he would make a major announcement at a 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) rally. He gave no further details.
Fiorina, 61, endorsed Cruz, a 45-year-old U.S. senator from Texas, for the nomination in March, one month after she dropped out of the Republican race herself.
The unusually early announcement of a running mate appeared to be a bid by Cruz to recover from Tuesday’s crushing losses to Trump, who swept party nominating contests in five U.S. Northeastern states.
The victories brought the New York billionaire closer to the 1,237 Republican National Convention delegates he needs to win the nomination at the July 18-21 event in Cleveland.
Traditionally, the winners of the Republican and Democratic presidential contests announce their running mates in the period between clinching the nomination and the summer national conventions.
But Cruz was looking for a boost to his increasingly difficult campaign after Tuesday’s drubbing by Trump, 69, in all five states that held primary elections: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The race pivoted to Indiana’s primary next Tuesday, which was shaping up to be Cruz’s best – and perhaps last – chance to hinder Trump’s march to the nomination.
If Cruz can win a large share of the Midwestern state’s 57 delegates, it will boost the chances that Trump will not be able to clinch the nomination on the convention’s first ballot.
After that, many delegates will be free to turn to Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich, 63, the other remaining candidate, or a dark-horse establishment candidate on a second or subsequent ballot.
After Tuesday’s voting, Trump had 954 delegates, Cruz had 562 and Kasich had 153, according to an Associated Press count that included unbound delegates free to support any candidate.
The choice of Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard Co chief executive, could help Cruz with women voters, a group the pugnacious Trump has had difficulty winning over to his outsider campaign.
Trump criticized Fiorina earlier on Wednesday as a potential Cruz vice presidential pick. “I think it would be a bad choice,” he said, “not because she’s a woman but because she did not resonate at all with people.”
“It’s too early to do it,” Trump said. “And frankly, he’s wasting his time because he’s not going to be the nominee.”