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Texas Republican Primary Results Leaves Some Asian Americans Divided

Though Texas gave Sen. Ted Cruz a victory over Donald Trump, the win hardly unified some of the state’s Republican Asian-American leaders.
Image: Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks in Reno, Nevada.
Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at a rally at the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows in Reno, Nevada February 22, 2016.JAMES GLOVER / Reuters

Texas not only had the top prize Tuesday night — 155 Republican delegates — it also featured the largest Asian American electorate among the Super Tuesday states.

And though it gave Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a 44 to 27 percent victory over Donald Trump, the win hardly unified some of the state’s Republican Asian-American leaders.

“Asian-American Republicans didn’t rally around any one person,” Martha Wong, a leading member of the Texas Asian Republican Assembly, told NBC News, adding that she had no plans to rally around Cruz now despite his win in the Lone Star State.

“Not a single senator supported Cruz. He’s the smartest person in the room,” said Wong, 77, the first Asian-American city council member ever elected to the Houston City Council. She was part of the leadership efforts in the state for Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign, and said she was disappointed in her candidate's third place finish.

Image: Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz
From left, Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump and Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speak and gesture during a Republican presidential primary debate at The University of Houston, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Houston.David J. Phillip / AP

Wong seemed more concerned that Trump continued to lure angry voters who made him the big winner in the other Super Tuesday states.

“I hope people wake up and realize who he is,” said Wong, who doubted Trump’s self-proclamation to be a party “unifier.”

“How can he be a unifier if he goes around calling everybody names?” Wong asked. “He doesn’t get along with people and if people don’t agree with him he gets mad at him.”

RELATED: On Super Tuesday, Asian Americans in Texas Poised to Make a Difference

Wong is insistent, it’s not over for Rubio yet. “He will continue and win in Florida," she said. “He finished second in several and first in one. He is the only one who can beat Hillary.”

But others like Andy Nguyen, a Tarrant County Commissioner near Fort Worth, disagreed, telling NBC News that he sees Cruz’s Texas victory as the call to unity.

“Well, this is a presidential election, not a personality contest.”

“It signifies the consolidation of the true conservatives,” Nguyen said. “Rubio and others must place the party and the nation first, honorably back out, and support Cruz. Head-to-head, Cruz will trump Trump.”

Nguyen, a key Asian-American Cruz supporter, called Cruz “trustworthy and passionate" about conservative principles.

“Some Republicans don’t like Cruz because they don’t like his less-than-personable demeanor,” Nguyen said. “Well, this is a presidential election, not a personality contest.”

RELATED: Can Texas Republicans Bring Asian America into GOP Tent?

Nguyen added that he admired Cruz's integrity, and that the senator's words and actions have been consistently aligned. "Others can’t stand him because he won’t be bound to the powerful establishment,” he said.

He also believes Cruz has the ability to beat a Democrat in November, especially if it’s current frontrunner Hillary Clinton, the big winner on the Democratic side in most of the Super Tuesday states, including Texas.

“Americans will be able to compare and contrast,” Nguyen said. “Should be easy to choose between Hillary and Cruz.”

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