In a last ditch effort, Republican rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich are uniting forces to prevent front runner Donald Trump from winning the GOP’s presidential nomination before the Republican National Convention.
The campaigns of rivals Cruz and Kasich, announced on Sunday night that they would join for a divide-and-conquer strategy in three states. This double-team strategy is designed keeping in mind that Trump has a legitimate chance to earn the 1,237 delegates through the primary process and clinch the nomination.
After weeks of feuding with each other, attempts and rebuffs, Cruz and Kasich have been persuaded to try to stop their party voters from selecting Trump as their candidate by willingly conceding state primaries to each other to keep them out of Donald’s hands.
The partnership comes days after Trump said his opponents were ‘mathematically eliminated’ from the primary race because he is the only one with the possibility of securing the minimum 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
Both Cruz and Kasich are mathematically incapable of securing the GOP nomination on the first ballot, and each must stop Trump from reaching the figure if they hope to stand a chance at a contested convention.
Both the Cruz and Kasich’s camps issued statements saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests, with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his energy to Oregon and New Mexico.
“To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico,” Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement late Sunday.
Minutes after Mr. Roe’s statement, the Kasich campaign put out a similar message. The Ohio governor’s chief strategist, John Weaver, said that his campaign would shift its resources to states in the West and ‘give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana’.
Kasich, the governor of Ohio, was scheduled to campaign in Indiana on Tuesday but the event has been called off. Instead he will make the turn to Oregon with events in Portland and Medford on Thursday. Meanwhile, Cruz will focus on Indiana this week, with multiple stops scheduled across the state on Monday.
“Donald Trump doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans – not even close. But he currently does have almost half the delegates because he’s benefited from the existing primary system,” said John Weaver.
Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe called Trump at the top of the GOP ticket ‘a sure disaster’ in light of Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. “Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation,” Roe said.
Being the front-runner, Trump said, he believes he deserves the nomination even if he falls slightly short of the majority.
While five states go to the polls on April 26 with some 172 Republican delegates at stake, both Cruz and Kasich’s campaigns view Indiana’s contest (scheduled for May 3) as the critical turning point for thwarting Trump’s rise to the nomination.
Trump responded on Twitter late Sunday, tweeting that “Lyin’ Ted” and Kasich were “colluding” against him. And that the GOP primary is “rigged”.
Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 25 April 2016
Trump later released a statement calling it ‘sad’ that ‘these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive’.
“When two candidates who have no path to victory get together to stop a candidate who is expanding the party by millions of voters, (all of whom will drop out if I am not in the race) it is yet another example of everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system,” Trump said in the statement.