“Bill O’Brien has backbone. He is willing to stand up and do the right thing,” Cruz told conservative host Jeff Kuhner on WRKO AM 680. “I think he would make a phenomenal senator from New Hampshire.”
Cruz’s endorsement came two days after Lewandowski’s combative appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, which served to bolster his national profile — and highlight his fierce loyalty to Trump — ahead of an expected announcement next month about a Senate run.
Trump took to Twitter during the hearing to congratulate Lewandowski on his “beautiful” opening statement, and during a break, Lewandowski directed his Twitter followers to the website of a new super PAC supporting his potential candidacy.
During the radio interview, Cruz said, “I like Corey. I know Corey. In fact, I saw him over dinner [the] day before yesterday. Good relationship, respect for it.”
But Cruz said it was not clear to him that Lewandowski was going to join the race to topple Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D).
“I don’t know if he’s going to get in the race or not,” Cruz said. “I don’t know if he knows if he’s going to get in the race or not. He’s got to make that decision, and I know he’s weighing it and assessing it now. What I do know is Bill is in the race, and Bill has been a proven conservative leader for the state of New Hampshire for a long time.”
The prospect of Lewandowski as the GOP nominee in the Senate race in New Hampshire next year has not enthralled all Republicans in the state, which Trump narrowly lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Some officials and strategists have started to warn about the unpredictable effect a Lewandowski bid could have. The former Trump aide comes with plenty of baggage, including a high-profile run-in with a reporter from Breitbart News that left her with bruises and a lobbying history that his opponents say is ripe with material.
“He’s a thug,” former senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) told the Union-Leader, the state’s largest newspaper, earlier this month. “He’s part of Trump’s cadre of thugs. If he were to run and become the nominee, it would be an outrage.”
Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.