While the South Carolina Republican primary results were still rolling in, Ted Cruz gave a speech casting himself as the only viable alternative to Donald Trump.
Cruz was fighting fellow Sen. Marco Rubio for second place in the Palmetto State. Shortly before 10 p.m., Cruz and Rubio were effectively tied for second. Real-estate mogul Trump won the state with more than 30% of the vote.
“Indeed the screaming you hear now from across the Potomac is the Washington cartel in full terror that the conservative grassroots are rising up,” Cruz said.
In Iowa, they said it couldn’t be done, and we won. In New Hampshire, they said a conservative … could not compete. And we defied expectations. And tonight, despite millions and millions of dollars of false and nasty attacks, despite the entirety of the political establishment coming together against us, South Carolina has given us another remarkable result.
Cruz also pointed out that his campaign is the only one that has beaten Trump in a primary contest.
“Conservatives continue to unite behind our campaign,” Cruz said. “If you are a conservative, this is where you belong because only one strong conservative is in a position to win this race. … We are the only campaign that has beaten and can beat Donald Trump. That’s why Donald relentlessly attacks us and ignores all the other candidates.”
He also tried to make the case that he could beat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the general election in November.
“Now I congratulate Donald on his victory but … if you don’t believe that Donald Trump is the best candidate to run against Hillary Clinton in November, if you believe we need a strong contrast with the Democrats, … then we welcome you aboard our team,” Cruz said.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the race after a disappointing showing in South Carolina, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson are still in.
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