WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential nominee whose endorsement has been sought by much of the Republican field, will vote for a candidate Tuesday who has hardly embraced him: Ted Cruz.
The former Massachusetts governor posted on Facebook Friday that he will support Cruz in Utah, where Romney currently resides. Romney did not use the word “endorsement,” and he has personally encouraged Republicans to engage in “strategic voting” in which they cast ballots for the GOP candidate most likely to stop Donald Trump in their respective state.
“This week, in the Utah nominating caucus, I will vote for Senator Ted Cruz,” he wrote. “The only path that remains to nominate a Republican rather than Mr. Trump is to have an open convention. At this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible.”
Romney maintained that he had respect for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the only other remaining GOP candidate and with whom he has campaigned.
“I would have voted for him in Ohio. But a vote for Governor Kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail,” Romney said.
On the campaign trail, Cruz has had often very harsh words for Romney, dubbing him a seriously flawed messenger against Barack Obama in 2012 and characterizing him as part of the GOP’s “mushy middle.”
But he quickly thanked Romney for the support in a tweet Friday afternoon.