Republican Cruz wins backing from Indiana governor in rearguard fight

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Endorses Ted Cruz Ahead of State's Primary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Republican White House hopeful Ted Cruz won backing from Indiana's governor on Friday ahead of the state's primary, where the Texan is fighting a rearguard battle to damage front-runner Donald Trump's chances of winning the nomination.

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The endorsement from conservative Governor Mike Pence could boost Cruz's hopes of winning Indiana on Tuesday, depriving Trump of some of the delegates he needs at the Republican National Convention in July, which will decide the nominee.

"I'm not against anybody, but I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary," Pence said on an Indiana radio show.

"I see Ted Cruz as a principled conservative who's dedicated his career to advocating the Reagan agenda," said Pence, referring to Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Trump, who described himself this week as the party's presumptive nominee, would take a huge stride toward knocking his Republican rivals out of the presidential race if he wins Indiana.

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Republican Cruz wins backing from Indiana governor in rearguard fight
Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate U.S. Senator Ted Cruz hugs his young daughters Catherine (L) and Caroline (R) onstage at the end of the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accompanied by his wife Heidi and their two daughters Catherine, 4, right, and Caroline, 7, center, waves to members of the audience after speaking at a rally at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
STAFFORD, TX - MARCH 1: Heidi Cruz laughs as her daughters, Catherine (L) and Caroline autograph two Dr. Seuss books during a Super Tuesday watch party for husband, Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), at the Redneck Country Club March 1, 2016 in Stafford, Texas. Cruz won the Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska primaries. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stands on stage with his wife Heidi and their daughters Catherine and Caroline, as he announces his candidacy for president during an event at Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia, March 23, 2015. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who frequently clashes with leaders of his Republican Party, became the first major figure from either party to jump into the 2016 presidential election race on Monday. REUTERS/Chris Keane
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz is accompanied by his wife Heidi and daughter Caroline as he speaks about the primary election results in Florida, Ohio and Illinois during a campaign rally in Houston, Texas March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Trish Badger EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz arrives with his wife Heidi and daughter Caroline for a campaign stop at the Glorioso's Italian Market in Milwaukee April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz arrives with his wife Heidi and daughters Catherine and Caroline during An American Rally at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay April 3, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, with his daughter Catherine (2nd L), wife Heidi (C), daughter Caroline (2nd R) and supporter and former rival Carly Fiorina (R) at his side, reacts to the primary election results in Florida, Ohio and Illinois during a campaign rally in Houston, Texas March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Trish Badger EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES.
Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz hugs his young daughters Catherine and Caroline (R) at the edge of the stage during a commercial break at the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
STAFFORD, TX - MARCH 1: Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) celebrates holding his daughter Catherine with his wife Heidi and daughter Caroline during a Super Tuesday watch party at the Redneck Country Club March 1, 2016 in Stafford, Texas. Cruz won the Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska primaries. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and wife Heidi wave to supporters during his Keep The Promise rally at the zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., on Sunday, March 13, 2016. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), his wife Heidi and daughter Catherine observe a moment of silence for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during a primary night party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds February 20, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are locked in a tight race for finishing second in the South Carolina GOP primary. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Heidi Cruz (R), wife of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), waves with daughters Caroline (2nd R) and Catherine (L) during a primary night party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds February 20, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are locked in a tight race for finishing second in the South Carolina GOP primary. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Heidi Cruz, right, wife of Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and 2016 presidential candidate, left, grabs her husband's chin after kissing him on stage during his campaign's caucus night celebration at the Elwell Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Cruz won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Democrat Hillary Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WINDHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 02: Heidi Cruz (R), wife of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), talks with their daughter Caroline, 7, before a campaign town hall meeting at the Crossing Life Church February 2, 2016 in Windham, New Hampshire. Cruz emerged at the top of a crowded GOP presidential field after winning Monday's Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 01: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stands with his wife Heidi as he addresses supporters after winning at the caucus night gathering at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Cruz beat out frontrunner Donald Trump and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to win the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 01: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) embraces his wife Heidi in front of supporters at the caucus night gathering at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Cruz beat out frontrunner Donald Trump and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to win the Iowa caucuses. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JANUARY 31: Wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz, Heidi Cruz, speaks during a campaign rally in Iowa City, Iowa, USA on January 31, 2016. Both Democratic and Republican candidates are campaigning in Iowa this weekend before the Iowa Caucus on Monday. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FENTON, IA - JANUARY 29 : Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, center, listens as his wife Heidi Cruz, left, speaks during a campaign event at North Star Restaurant and Lounge Shop January 29, 2016 in Fenton, Iowa. Cruz, who is seeking the nomination for the Republican Party is on the presidential campaign trail across Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus taking place February 1, a week before the New Hampshire Primaries. Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 21: Heidi Nelson Cruz, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and thier daughter Catherine listen as Ted Cruz speaks to supporters at his Religious Liberty Rally on August 21, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Earlier in the day Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) visited and spoke to guests at the Iowa State Fair. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Catherine Cruz, left, waves to her dad, Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and 2016 presidential candidate, as she sits on the lap of her mom Heidi Nelson Cruz at the Rally for Religious Liberty in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. A day after Jimmy Carter appeared on national television to talk about the cancer that's ravaging his body, Republican presidential candidate Cruz criticized the former president's administration in a speech in Iowa. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, stands with his wife Heidi Nelson Cruz and daughters Catherine Cruz, left, and Caroline Cruz, right, as he marks the start of his presidential campaign by giving the convocation address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2015. By kicking off his campaign at the Virginia Christian college founded by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell, rather than a venue in his home state, Cruz is signaling hell court religious conservatives as well as small-government tea-party activists as he competes to become the lead anti-establishment candidate in the party contest. Photographer: Jay Paul/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Heidi Cruz, wife of Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, appears during a campaign event on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Heidi Nelson Cruz, wife of presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, smiles as she supports her husband at the Londonderry Fish and Game club in Litchfield, N.H., Sunday, April 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, right, and his wife Heidi Nelson Cruz wave to delegates the Texas GOP Convention after his speech in Fort Worth, Texas Friday, June 6, 2014. Cruz promised to lead a conservative revolution unseen since the days of Ronald Reagan. (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry)
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Cruz, a U.S. Senator from Texas, is trailing the New York billionaire in the Midwestern state after losing to him by a wide margin in all five Northeastern states that held nominating contests on Tuesday.

A CBS poll out earlier this week found Trump with about 40 percent of support in Indiana, compared to 35 percent for Cruz. The poll had a margin of error of 6.6 points. Other polls have also shown Trump ahead.

Despite his endorsement of Cruz, Pence also had kind words for Trump. The governor said he had met with all of the Republican presidential candidates and commended Trump for representing Americans' frustration with Washington politicians.

Pence was once considered a possible presidential candidate but his popularity dropped a year ago after he signed a "religious freedom" bill that critics said was discriminatory against gay people, and then softened the law under pressure from rights groups and businesses.

In a bid to slow Trump's momentum, Cruz named former business executive Carly Fiorina on Wednesday as his vice presidential running mate should he win the nomination. Trump described the move as "desperate."

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Republican Cruz wins backing from Indiana governor in rearguard fight
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz stands with Carly Fiorina after he announced Fiorina as his running mate at a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, hugs former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina during a rally in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, where he announced he has tapped Fiorina as his running mate. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz holds up a new campaign sign reflecting Cruz's choice of Carly Fiorina as his running mate at a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz is joined by former Republican presidential candidate and recently announced supporter Carly Fiorina at a Cruz town hall event at the Faith Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida U.S. March 11, 2016. U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is expected to announce former business executive Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential running mate if he wins the party's nomination, ABC News affiliate WMUR reported, citing unnamed sources. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski/File Photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz holds up a new campaign sign reflecting his choice of Carly Fiorina as his running mate at a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to the crowd during a Ted Cruz campaign rally at American Legion Post 22 in Towson, Maryland, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, with his daughter Catherine (2nd L), wife Heidi (C), daughter Caroline (2nd R) and supporter and former rival Carly Fiorina (R) at his side, reacts to the primary election results in Florida, Ohio and Illinois during a campaign rally in Houston, Texas March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Trish Badger EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES.
Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina watches as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks with the media ahead of a campaign rally in Rothschild, Wisconsin, U.S. March 28, 2016. U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is expected to announce former business executive Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential running mate if he wins the party's nomination, ABC News affiliate WMUR reported, citing unnamed sources. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich/File Photo
Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at a campaign rally in support of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Rothschild, Wisconsin, U.S. March 28, 2016. U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is expected to announce former business executive Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential running mate if he wins the party's nomination, ABC News affiliate WMUR reported, citing unnamed sources. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich/File Photo
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R) speaks with the media as former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina stands by his side ahead of a campaign rally in Rothschild, Wisconsin March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz is joined by former Republican presidential candidate and recently announced supporter Carly Fiorina at a press conference after a Cruz town hall event at the Faith Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz and former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina pose for photos after she endorsed Cruz at a campaign rally in Miami, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 15: Carly Fiorina speaks at a watch party for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on March 15, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Cruz is in a tight race with Donald Trump in the Missouri GOP primary, while Trump took Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois. Gov. John Kasich won his home state of Ohio. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz and former candidate presidential Carly Fiorina respond to TV host Sean Hannity at the Faith Assembly of God church on March 11, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is joined by former candidate Carly Fiorina during a campaign rally at Miami-Dade College's Wolfson Campus in Miami on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (Roberto Koltun/El Nuevo Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
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ANTI-TRUMP PROTEST

Trump was in California on Friday ahead of its June 7 primary, when the most convention delegates of the Republican nominating cycle will be at stake. He planned to speak to the state Republican convention later in the day.

About 20 people were arrested outside a Trump rally on Thursday near the county fair grounds in Costa Mesa, California. Media reported that protesters smashed the window of a police patrol car and blocked traffic.

Local news showed demonstrators surrounding vehicles, waving Mexican flags and holding signs. At least one demonstrator was shown jumping on top of a police car.

But the head of California's Republican Party on Friday downplayed the demonstrations, and said protests were typical for the state's politics.

"If you're a Republican running for president in California and you don't get protested, you're doing something really, really wrong," Jim Brulte, chairman of the California Republican Party, said on CNN on Friday. "Every president I've campaigned with here in California has been protested."

Protests have become common outside rallies for Trump. His campaign had to cancel a rally in Chicago last month after clashes between his supporters and protesters.

Trump has won a broad following among Republicans in the United States, along with ardent critics, for his stand on illegal immigration. He has accused Mexico of sending drug dealers and rapists across the U.S. border, and promised to end it by building a wall and making Mexico pay for it.

The population of Costa Mesa, where he appeared on Thursday, is about a third Latino.

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Police on horseback and in riot gear pass by a damaged police car as they break up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear form a line to break up a group of protesters, one with a Mexican flag, outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Sheriffs on horseback and police break-up a group of demonstrators outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear arrive to break-up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A demonstrator wears a mask outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear pass by a damaged police car as they break up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear arrive to break-up a demonstration outside of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A sold out side directs traffic outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Demonstrators sit in front of a line of police in riot gear outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police in riot gear arrive to break-up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Police on horse back break up a demonstration outside Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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Trump appeared at the rally with families of several people who were allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants.

Local news afterward showed demonstrators surrounding vehicles, waving Mexican flags and holding signs. At least one demonstrator was shown jumping on top of a police car.

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