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Rick Santorum Announces Latest Endorsement

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Santorum has endorsed Texas U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz, announcing Thursday his backing of the former state solicitor general and Tea Party favorite.

The former presidential candidate praised Cruz, calling him “spellbinding, a tremendous orator, and principled.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint had already endorsed Cruz, who goes up against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst — the front-runner — in the May 29 primary to replace  retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

Dewhurst has been endorsed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

If neither candidate gets more than 50 percent in Tuesday’s primary, the race goes to a runoff, which would take place July 31. Polling shows Dewhurst ahead, but not at the 50 percent mark, so a runoff between Cruz and Dewhurst seems likely.

There are also two others running: the former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former football player and ESPN commentator Craig James.

Santorum had strong support in Texas before abandoning his presidential bid. He campaigned several times to large crowds  and his super PAC held a fundraiser in Dallas that he attended in February.

The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign staff tried feverishly to change the primary to a winner-take-all from a proportionate awarding of delegates to try to win that state’s large delegate  bounty. When that proved impossible, Santorum said that was one of the reasons he left the race last last month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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