Ted Cruz scrambles to reverse fortunes in Indiana
By Eric Bradner CNN
INDIANAPOLIS (CNN) -- Ted Cruz has everything he wanted in Indiana: A one-on-one match-up with rival Donald Trump in a conservative state with a supportive governor and an announced running-mate, Carly Fiorina, at his side.
But on Monday, Cruz is racing to reverse polls that showed him trailing.
"I trust the people of Indiana to differentiate ... We are not a bitter, angry, petty, bigoted people. That is not America. I reject that vision of America," Cruz said in Osceola. "We are not an angry, ugly people, and the people of Indiana -- the people of Indiana have good judgment, have good values. The people of Indiana are the heartland of this country, and we have a choice -- we have a choice about our national character; who we will be."
After more than a week of hyping the importance of the Hoosier State's Tuesday primary, anything short of a win would be an embarrassment for the Texas senator -- and a sharp blow to his chances of holding Trump short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump, meanwhile, has scheduled two more large rallies after casting Indiana as his chance to deliver Cruz a knock-out blow on Sunday.
"Indiana is so important and we have to win it," Trump said to a crowd of approximately 1,500 people packed into a theater in Terre Haute, Indiana. "If we win Indiana, it's over."
Cruz's jam-packed schedule reflects the do-or-die nature of Indiana's primary.
He has five events on his schedule for Monday: The breakfast stop in rural Osceola; a visit alongside Gov. Mike Pence in Marion; a rally with Pence in the heavily evangelical Fort Wayne; a stop in Bloomington, home of Indiana University; and a nighttime rally in Indianapolis.
He has also dispatched Fiorina, who would become his vice presidential running-mate if he won the GOP nomination, to five events of her own in the counties surrounding Indianapolis.
Those suburban counties are favorable to Republicans, but tend to be more moderate than Cruz. They could be more ideologically inclined to support Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and therefore perhaps the most important pool of voters in Indiana's primary.
Cruz has called in the cavalry, as well: Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, radio host Glenn Beck and the candidate's wife, Heidi Cruz, are all hitting the trail.
Cruz told reporters in Osceola that even with a loss in Indiana, he'd continue his campaign.
"I am in for the distance," he said. "As long as we have a viable path to victory, I am competing to the end."
Trump has two big rallies planned for Monday: One in Carmel, a wealthy suburb of Indianapolis in voter-rich Hamilton County, and one in South Bend, a working-class, union-heavy city where his criticism of free trade deals could attract independent voters.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is holding rallies in each of Indiana's three biggest cities: Evansville in the morning, Fort Wayne in the early afternoon and Indianapolis in the evening.
Two candidates aren't in Indiana at all on Monday.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who struck a deal with Cruz to skip Indiana in exchange for Cruz ignoring Oregon and New Mexico, is already campaigning on the West Coast.
And Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has instead embarked on a tour of Appalachia, with stops in West Virginia and Kentucky -- two states that will vote in the Democratic primary this month -- and Ohio.
She held a rally in Indianapolis on Sunday before jetting to Detroit for an NAACP dinner.
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