After first backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday that she is now hoping for Ted Cruz to stop her party’s front-runner Donald Trump.
“My hope and prayer is that Sen. Cruz can come through so that he can push through and really get to where he needs to go … we do want a strong leader. We do want somebody that’s conservative,” she said, according to the video published by The State newspaper in Columbia.
Haley said her prayers fall short of formally endorsing Cruz but would like to see the Texas senator succeed, she added. Haley suggested Cruz’s path to nomination lies with his disciplined and concerted campaign, but she doesn’t think Ohio Gov. John Kasich has much of a chance.
Not all Rubio backers flocked to Cruz on Wednesday. Jim Inhofe, the influential Oklahoma senator, said he would support Kasich.
“Of the three still in the race for president, John is my guy,” Inhofe, who knew Kasich from their time serving in Congress together, said in a statement. “You learn a lot about a person when you attend a Bible study together, so I can tell personally that he is a man of his word.”
Haley had endorsed Rubio last month. The Florida senator pulled out of the race after a crushing defeat in his own home state.
However, she said that she will put her weight behind GOP nominee even if it’s Republican front-runner Trump.
Haley and Trump have been at the loggerheads over the tactics employed by the latter on the campaign trail, sparring most publicly over Trump’s stance on banning Muslim immigrants.