Washington: With her favoured candidate Marco Rubio dropping out of the presidential race, South Carolina's Indian-American Governor Nikki Haley is now hoping for "solid and strong" Ted Cruz to stop Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
"My hope and my prayer is that Senator Cruz can pull through this and that he can push through and really get to where he needs to go," she told reporters in Columbia, the state capital.
"Because we do want a strong leader, we do want somebody that's conservative, we do want somebody that's action-minded. So we'll see what happens."
Haley said her prayers fall short of formally endorsing Cruz but would like to see the Texas senator succeed.
She suggested Cruz's path to nomination lies with his disciplined and concerted campaign, but she doesn't think Ohio Governor John Kasich has much of a chance.
After wins in Republican primaries in four states on Tuesday, Trump's delegate-count has risen to 673 as against Cruz's 411 and Kasich's 143. Trump would need 1,237 delegates to capture the Republican prize.
The rising Republican star who is often mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick was chosen by Republican Congressional leaders to give the party's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in January.
Haley had endorsed Rubio last month. The Florida senator pulled out of the race after Trump routed him in his own home state.
"I don't know that I need to formally endorse," she said. "If anybody asks me, that's what I want to see happen."
However, she said she will put her weight behind the Republican nominee even if it's Republican front-runner Trump.
Haley and Trump have been at loggerheads over the tactics employed by the latter on the campaign trail, sparring most publicly over Trump's stance on banning Muslim immigrants.
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Updated Date: Mar 17, 2016 12:43:28 IST