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The Texas senator placed increased significance on his performance on Super Tuesday

Ted Cruz finished behind Marco Rubio in the past two Republican nominating contests

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Houston CNN —  

Ted Cruz on Wednesday defended his path to victory even as his chances on Super Tuesday look increasingly dour, doing little to tamp down expectations of how he’ll do on a day he calls the “most important of the entire presidential election.”

Facing scrutiny from reporters following an event here, the Texas senator repeatedly declined to predict how he would do after March 1. He would not outline which states he might win later in March, and he maintained that he would do “well” but would not say whether he would win more than 50% of the votes or delegates available.

“I’m curious how many reporters ask Marco Rubio after losing four states in a row, ‘So when do you drop out when you haven’t won a state?’” Cruz told reporters after receiving the endorsement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. “It will matter a great deal where the delegate count is at the end of the day Super Tuesday.”

Cruz’s strategy has been thrown into question after failing to sufficiently consolidate evangelical support in Nevada and especially in South Carolina, a state with a similar ideological profile to the others he’s hoping to win. Cruz maintained Wednesday, however, that he was taking none of the so-called SEC states for granted.

“The terrain is very favorable. And we’re going to campaign hard,” Cruz said, framing the history of the race against Trump in a way that ignored Trump’s win in Nevada on Tuesday evening. “He’s won two of the first three states, and I’ve won one. And we’re now teed up exactly where we planned to be: on Super Tuesday, a clear and direct choice for the voters.”