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Cruz announces Fiorina as "running mate"

Ted Cruz announced the selection of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate on Wednesday in an attempt to turn the page on electoral sweep by front-runner Donald Trump in five states across the mid-Atlantic and northeast.

"For the 13 months of this race, there has been a proven, consistent, courageous fighter. A fighter who terrifies Hillary. And who will do the same to our enemies. And that's why I am proud to announce Carly Fiorina as my Vice Presidential running mate," Cruz said.

Cruz made the announcement at a rally in Indianapolis, Indiana, a state which where he has said the campaign has gone "all in" and become a must-win for them in order to have a chance to stop Trump at a contested convention.

In a statement, Trump denounced the selection as a "pure waste of time" and a sign that Cruz "is only trying to stay relevant." A spokesman for Ohio Governor John Kasich responded, "Carly Fiorina ran an honorable campaign but most Republicans will meet this decision with a collective shrug."

The move to pick a running mate before winning the nomination is not unprecedented -- in 1976, Ronald Reagan selected Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania before losing to President Gerald Ford at the Republican convention.

It follows another last ditch attempt on Sunday where the Cruz and Kasich campaigns came to a strained agreement to allow Cruz to allocate resources in Indiana unencumbered by Kasich while letting Kasich do the same thing in New Mexico and Oregon.

Fiorina has been a frequent surrogate for Cruz since endorsing him on March 9th at a campaign rally in Miami, where Cruz hailed her as an "incredible business leader" whose "campaign for president impressed people all over this country." And the prospect of a Cruz-Fiorina ticket has been raised since then.

"Maybe we ought to get him the nomination first," Fiorina told reporters at the end of March as she sat with Cruz at a restaurant retail stop at the end of March during a retail stop in Milwaukee. But when pressed, she added, "look I don't rule anything out."

At testy press gaggles, Fiorina occasionally runs interference for Cruz and serves as an attack dog. She has called Trump a "serial philanderer" on the stump.

If he can make it past Indiana, the choice of Fiorina may help Cruz in the crucial California primary on June 7th. Fiorina ran a campaign there for a US Senate seat in 2010 but she was defeated by incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer.