Cruz and Kasich join forces to deny Trump the Republican nomination

Concerns over Trump’s success sees candidates agreeing to standaside in certain states

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said despite lagging in the race he is best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton saying, 'a vote for Cruz or Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton.' Video: Reuters

 

Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich have agreed to coordinate in future primary contests in a last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination.

Each candidate has agreed to standaside in certain states amid growing concerns that Trump cannot otherwise be stopped.

In a statement late Sunday, Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said the campaign would “focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico. ”

Minutes after Roe’s statement, the Kasich campaign put out a similar message. The Ohio governor’s chief strategist, John Weaver, said his campaign would shift its resources to states in the West and “give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana.”

Both campaigns said they expected allies and third-party groups to follow their lead. The arrangement is a striking departure for Cruz, who has in the past rebuffed calls from some Republican leaders, including members of the Kasich campaign and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, to divvy up states in an effort to complicate Trump’s path.

The move also signals a major shift in tone from the Cruz campaign toward Kasich, whom Cruz aides have long cast as a “spoiler” in the race. Cruz has openly questioned whether Kasich was auditioning to be Trump’s vice president.

But Indiana, which votes May 3rd, is seen as critical to Cruz’s chances of keeping Trump safely beneath the delegate count required for the nomination. In a signal of Indiana’s importance, Cruz has held several events in the state in recent days, giving relatively little attention to the five states that vote Tuesday, when he is expected to lose more delegates to Trump.

Kasich’s team had hoped to coordinate in this manner much sooner. Last month, at a debate in Miami, Weaver broached the possibility with Roe of splitting the remaining states in an effort to minimize Trump’s delegate haul. Cruz’s team rejected the overture.

What changed between the talks last month and now, according to Cruz’s advisers, is that there are few states left on the calendar and Cruz urgently must stop Trump in Indiana.

New York Times