Cruz Claims Only He Can Beat Trump After Defeat in South Carolina Primary

© REUTERS / Jonathan ErnstRepublican U.S. presidential candidates former Governor Jeb Bush (L) and businessman Donald Trump (R) speak simultaneously about the war in Iraq and the record of Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush, as Senator Ted Cruz (C) looks on during the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee in Greenville, South Carolina February 13, 2016.
Republican U.S. presidential candidates former Governor Jeb Bush (L) and businessman Donald Trump (R) speak simultaneously about the war in Iraq and the record of Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush, as Senator Ted Cruz (C) looks on during the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee in Greenville, South Carolina February 13, 2016. - Sputnik International
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US Senator Ted Cruz tried to sell in a concession speech a disappointing third place in the South Carolina Republican primary as proof that only he could defeat frontrunner Donald Trump in the race for the Republican Party’s US presidential nomination.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Senator Ted Cruz tried to sell in a concession speech a disappointing third place in the South Carolina Republican primary as proof that only he could defeat frontrunner Donald Trump in the race for the Republican Party’s US presidential nomination.

“We are the only campaign that can beat, and has beaten, Donald Trump,” Cruz told an audience in South Carolina on Saturday night.

However, with 99 percent of the vote counted, Cruz trialed more than 10 percent behind a triumphant Trump. The billionaire businessman took 32.5 percent of the Republican vote.

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Senator Marco Rubio was far behind in second place with 22.5 percent and Cruz, who expected to very well in South Carolina, with its concentration of Protestant Evangelical voters, was narrowly behind Rubio with 22.3 percent.

Trump spoke only briefly on Saturday night in acknowledging his victory, reaffirming he will rebuild the US military if elected president.

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Rubio, like Cruz, tried to make his decisive defeat at Trump’s hands sound like a major victory.

“This has become a three person race and we will win the nomination, Rubio said. “This country is now ready for a new generation of conservatives to guide us in the 21st century.”

Historically, victory in the Republican primary in South Carolina almost always ensures that the winner goes on to take the party’s presidential nomination.

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