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Kelly Craft during a campaign stop in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Kelly Craft during a campaign stop in Elizabethtown, Ky., on April 12, 2023.Timothy D. Easley / AP file

Cruz breaks with Trump, McConnell to back Craft for Kentucky governor

Cruz will hit the campaign trail with Craft days before the primary election.


Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is hitting the stump next week for former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft's campaign for governor of Kentucky, pitting Cruz against two of his party's most powerful politicians.

Craft announced that Cruz would join her on May 13 for two rallies just days before the Republican primary election. In a statement, Cruz called Craft the candidate who will bring in "a new generation of leadership."

"Kelly Craft is the candidate that Kentuckians need as their governor to usher in a new generation of leadership,” he said. "I’ve seen firsthand how hard Kelly has worked to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party and negotiate the largest trade deal in American history. I also know how passionate she is about ensuring that every Kentuckian can reach their full potential and achieve the American Dream."

Cruz joins Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer behind Craft, who served as former President Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Nations.

But in this race, Cruz is standing on opposite sides from Trump and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who are both backing state Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Craft has been the big spender in this high-stakes primary, where the winner will go on to face Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. She's spent $5.3 million on advertising so far, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact, significantly more than any other candidate or group.