AUSTIN, Texas — The chairman of Donald Trump’s Texas campaign says Ted Cruz decided to vote for the billionaire businessman after a “thoughtful and prayerful process.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was state chairman of Cruz’s presidential campaign but now has that role for Trump. Cruz announced Friday via Facebook that he was voting for Trump, in a dramatic reversal.

In a phone interview, Patrick called Cruz’s announcement “extremely significant because Ted has a large number of supporters and donors who believe in him.” He added: “Hopefully, Ted stepping forward will bring more of them” to Trump’s side.

Patrick had suggested Cruz would be left in the GOP’s “rearview mirror” if he didn’t endorse Trump.

But he’s now praising Cruz’s timing ahead of Monday night’s first presidential debate when, “America focuses on this election.”