WASHINGTON - Donald Trump's main rival Ted Cruz said on Tuesday (May 3) he will "suspend" his campaign in the US presidential race, shortly after his trouncing in the Indiana primary which puts the billionaire businessman in an almost unassailable lead for the Republican nomination.
"And so with a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign," Cruz, a US senator from Texas, told his supporters in Indianapolis after conceding the state primary to Trump.
He pledged to continue his fight for "liberty" and Republican values.
Republican front-runner Trump had been quickly projected to be the winner by television networks shortly after polling places closed in the Midwestern state on Tuesday.
The New York billionaire was on track to take well over 50 per cent of the votes, eclipsing Cruz by almost 20 percentage points. Ohio Governor John Kasich was running a distant third with 8 per cent.
Cruz had been counting on a win in Tuesday's primary to slow Trump's progress towards the nomination. His brand of Christian conservatism had been expected to have wide appeal in the state.
"From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed," Cruz said on Tuesday, with his wife Heidi by his side.
"Together, we left it all on the field in Indiana, we gave it everything we’ve got, but the voters chose another path," he added as Cruz faithfuls shouted "no!"
Trump has so far amassed 1,002 delegates, according to CNN’s tally. Cruz is at 572 delegates and Kasich has 156. If Trump sweeps Indiana’s 57 delegates, he will need just 40 per cent of remaining Republican delegates to reach the magic number of 1,237 needed to clinch the party's nomination for the Nov 8 presidential election.