• WisPolitics


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

 8:43 AM 

Steineke endorses Cruz as other former Rubio backers ponder next move

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke Monday endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz as the Texas senator's presidential campaign officially opened offices in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, former state Treasurer Jack Voight endorsed John Kasich, while GOP lawmakers who had supported Marco Rubio said they were weighing their options as the presidential campaign continued to pick up steam here.

State Sen. Duey Stroebel, Cruz's state chair, said the senator's wife, Heidi, will be in Wisconsin for events Wednesday and Thursday. Ted Cruz is expected to make a stop here before the week is out, and the campaign has opened four offices in the state, Stroebel said.

"They really believe Wisconsin is a place where they're going to prevail," Stroebel said.

Steineke, who previously endorsed Rubio, said he believes Cruz is the only GOP candidate who can not only stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination, but win in November as well.

"Marco Rubio is my first choice," said Steineke, R-Kaukauna. "But when I look at the candidates left in the field, I think it's clear that Sen. Cruz is the only constitutional conservative that is left that has a message that's consistent with the vast majority of my priorities."

Rubio, R-Fla., last fall rolled out a list of state GOP lawmakers who endorsed his campaign. Some, such as JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, said they have decided against backing someone else in the race.

"My guy lost don't see how my second choice endorsement would help any candidate," Nygren wrote in a text.

Other GOP state lawmakers who previously backed Rubio said they're either not going to endorse or still trying to decide.

Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said he probably won't endorse before the April 5 Wisconsin primary. Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, said he won't make another endorsement at all.

Others, though, said they are on the fence. Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, said he plans to endorse but hasn't decided on a candidate.

Two Republican lawmakers who endorsed Rubio - Reps. John Macco, of Ledgeview, and Mike Rohrkaste, of Neenah -- said they're still thinking it over but know who won't get their backing.

"I haven't decided who," Rohrkaste said, "but I can tell you it's not Trump."


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