Cruz can control only one of those things, and on that front there are signs of progress. National Review has learned that the senator will hold a one-hour private meeting with Indiana governor Mike Pence prior to this Thursday’s Indianapolis GOP spring dinner, where he is scheduled to deliver a speech and sit at the governor’s table. The two first discussed these plans on a phone call last Friday, sources say.
Cruz would love to lock down Pence’s endorsement, knowing that the governor’s network could lend him a significant organizational edge in the state — just as Scott Walker’s did in Wisconsin. But sources say Pence, who loathes Trump, nonetheless has deep concerns about wading into the presidential race amid his own fight for re-election. If Pence doesn’t come on board, Cruz’s team is planning to deploy its next best option: Walker himself, who is a known commodity in Indiana and will likely be used as a surrogate there.
He won’t be alone. There is preliminary talk of Cruz assembling a high-profile team of GOP surrogates and bringing them to Indiana, according to sources familiar with the Cruz campaign’s internal deliberations. The goal would be to project unprecedented party unity against Trump with a roster of supporters that, in addition to familiar faces such as Walker and Carly Fiorina, could include Jeb Bush or even Mitt Romney.
Such a grand gesture would speak to Indiana’s strategic importance; it would also signal Cruz’s recognition that his campaign cannot afford to be complacent and assume a repeat of Wisconsin, given the many parallels that exist between the two states and the frequency with which his team discusses them.