Giuliani: I'll probably endorse Trump ... maybe

Did someone forget to mark Endorsement Day on the calendar for March 23rd? Jeb Bush tossed in a surprise endorsement of Ted Cruz this morning, and now two other one-time presidential hopefuls in the Republican Party have begun throat-clearing exercises on their potential picks. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who ran for the nomination in 2008, told a Columbia University audience this week that he’s probably going to have to support Donald Trump, less from enthusiasm than from a process of elimination:

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani will probably endorse Donald Trump for president, but wants to “think about it a little bit more” beforehand.

“The way I look at it, there really are only three people who will be the next president of the United States. One’s Hillary Clinton, the other’s Donald Trump, and the third is Ted Cruz,” he said at a Monday night event hosted by the Columbia University College Republicans on campus. …

“So I’ll choose between those three,” he said. “I’ll give you a hint: it won’t be Hillary Clinton. I seriously doubt it will be Ted Cruz. But I just want to think about it a little bit more before I do anything formally.”

“I think that you gotta pick,” he said. “This is the hand you’re dealt, and you’ve gotta work with it. You’ve gotta pick one of those three.”

Well, Rudy doesn’t gotta pick until the New York primary, which takes place in four weeks on April 19th. New York has a proportional allocation with a winner-take-all trigger of 50% for its 14 statewide delegates, plus the same for the three delegates in each of its 27 Congressional districts. There is a threshold of 20% of the vote to qualify for any allocation at both levels. Given the current polling, Trump seems set to come away with a massive delegate haul from New York, possibly with nearly all 95 delegates. Giuliani’s endorsement here might not have much impact one way or the other.

The same is not true in Wisconsin, where erstwhile candidate Gov. Scott Walker indicated an endorsement will come soon, but not for Trump:

Walker ended his own run for president in September with a call for others to drop out so it would be easier to take on Donald Trump. But now with just Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich left in the GOP field challenging Trump, Walker remains reluctant to back either one.

Walker told the AP on Tuesday he’s more in line with Kasich or Cruz, but he’s still deciding whether to endorse one of them. Until he decides, Walker says he won’t appear with any candidate when they are in the state.

Wisconsin’s primary is the next major event on the schedule on April 5th, with 42 delegates up for grabs. It’s winner-take-all but split between 18 statewide delegates and 24 from its eight winner-take-all Congressional districts. The polling in Wisconsin has been thin, but it’s showing some strength for Trump … against Marco Rubio. With Rubio out, voters in the state may be in a quandry where to put their support if not for Trump.

Walker knows this, but probably will still make both Cruz and Kasich work for it. Losing Bush’s endorsement sent a strong message from the so-called establishment for Kasich to pack it up and let Cruz take it from here, but Kasich’s not too likely to listen. If he competes for Wisconsin — and where else will he go? — he could end up splitting the non-Trump vote and hand the frontrunner an avalanche of delegates. There is no set of steak knives for second place in Wisconsin, and that might be enough for Walker to push Cruz as the most realistic opponent to Trump. If he wants to make that stick, though, he’d better offer his endorsement sooner rather than later in order to discourage Kasich from making a big play.

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