Ted Cruz on Monday offered a remarkably candid assessment of the race for the Republican nomination: Donald Trump “could be unstoppable” if he wins the Iowa caucus.
Cruz, the Texas senator who is running neck-and-neck with Trump in Iowa polling, urged a gathering of evangelical pastors on Monday to coalesce around his candidacy in order to defeat the billionaire real estate mogul, according to video obtained by the Christian Broadcasting Network and The Brody File. CNN has not independently obtained the video.
“If Donald wins Iowa, he right now has a substantial lead in New Hampshire, if he went on to win New Hampshire as well, there is a very good chance he could be unstoppable and be our nominee,” Cruz said in the recording.
“So even if you’re thinking about another candidate, the simple reality is there’s only one campaign that can beat Trump in this state, and if conservatives simply stand up and unite, that’s everything,” Cruz said.
Speaking a week before Iowans head to the caucuses, Cruz characterized the race between himself and Trump as “an absolute dead heat.”
Three recent polls of the Iowa race show Trump pulling away with a lead over Cruz after several weeks showing the two virtually tied in the first-in-the-nation contest.
Trump posted 11-point leads in the latest CNN/ORC and Fox News polls in Iowa, a gap Cruz could close if he can steal away support from the remaining candidates in the race.