For U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his presidential campaign, the Republican caucus in Utah is a critical must-win, and an opportunity to secure another of the delegate majorities he needs to qualify for the GOP nomination.
Those efforts received a big boost with the endorsements of the two top Republicans in the Beehive State.
Over the weekend, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said Cruz is the "strong, principled leader we need to help get our country back on track."
"Ted has unwaveringly fought for conservative principles time after time, and as president, he will do the same," he added. "I am asking all of my fellow Utah Republicans to join me, Senator Mike Lee, and Mitt Romney in voting for Ted Cruz on Tuesday."
Cox's boss, Gov. Gary Herbert, offered his support to Cruz, as well. He said the Texas senator is a "consistent conservative who understands the importance of federalism."
"I'm confident he will work to limit the federal government when it comes to education, public lands and other issues where states can do better than the federal government," he said. "Utah is no longer considered a flyover state. For the first time in recent memory, Utah voters will play a critical role in the presidential nominating contest.
"With one vacancy and possibly more on the U.S. Supreme Court, it is essential we have a president who will nominate a strong conservative to the court who will use the Constitution as his or her guide."
Utah provides 40 delegates, which are allocated in a winner-take-most fashion. However, if one of the candidates surpasses 50 percent of the vote, he will receive all of the state's delegates to the national convention.
Recent polls suggest Cruz will win, but also have him drawing closer to the 50-percent threshold. Arizona voters also vote Tuesday, along with voters in American Samoa in the South Pacific region.
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