DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 21: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) chats with his wife Heidi Nelson Cruz at the Religious Liberty Rally he was hosting on August 21, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Earlier in the day Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) visited and spoke to guests at the Iowa State Fair.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

"Did I just endorse, Wolf?" he said

Risch said as a "matter of pragmatics" there is really only one candidate worth supporting

Washington CNN —  

When Republican Sen. Jim Risch endorsed colleague Ted Cruz, it wasn’t exactly glowing.

The Idaho senator spoke with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” talking at length about how he “hopes” his Texas colleague will win the GOP nomination and how he’s the only viable choice among the candidates for the Republican nomination.

But when Blitzer remarked that Risch was only the third senator to endorse Cruz, after South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Risch was taken aback.

“Did I just endorse, Wolf?” he said.

“You sort of said you prefer him over the two,” Blitzer responded, to Risch’s agreement. “That sounds like an endorsement, doesn’t it?”

“I guess,” Risch replied. “It depends on your definition.”

The Republican senator had said at the beginning of the interview that he has yet to make another endorsement since Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out, but said as a “matter of pragmatics” there is really only one candidate worth supporting.

He cited polling, in part, for his assessment.

“It is stunning the defeat that Donald Trump would face against Hillary Clinton, it probably would be epic and historical,” Risch said of the front-runner. He added, “Obviously (John) Kasich is so far behind, it’s impossible really for him to get the numbers, so by process of elimination that gets you to Ted Cruz.”