Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich have agreed to coordinate their efforts in three primaries in a final attempt to bolster their numbers and keep frontrunner Donald Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the party’s nomination.
“Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans,” Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement. “Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation.” Cruz will focus on Indiana and leave Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich. Indiana will produce 30 delegates for the winner on May 3. Polls show that Cruz and Trump are in a technical tie in the state.
The last-minute move brings together two candidates who represent opposing sides within the Republican Party
Kasich campaign manager John Weaver published a statement saying his team would return the favor. Kasich will only stump in the two small western states where he is most likely to do well.
After a landslide victory in New York on April 19, Trump finally has the nomination within reach. Republican leaders were hoping that the real estate mogul would fail to win enough delegates during the primaries so that each state could reassign its delegate votes to another candidate at the convention instead of confirming him.
“Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the Party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee,” Weaver said in a statement.
The last-minute move brings together two candidates who represent opposing sides within the Republican Party. Ted Cruz is an ultra-conservative backed by the religious right who criticizes the so-called establishment, a position that has put him at odds with nearly everyone in his party. Kasich is the more moderate of the Republican contenders. While Cruz calls for deportation of undocumented immigrants and denies them a path to legal residence and citizenship, Kasich is open to the latter.
EL PAÍS English Edition is launching a weekly newsletter. Sign up today to receive a selection of our best stories in your inbox every Saturday morning. For full details about how to subscribe, click here.
Donald Trump responded to the Cruz-Kasich strategy via social media before publishing a formal statement saying; “It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for 10 months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination.”
“Collusion is often illegal in many other industries and yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive. They are mathematically dead and this act only shows, as puppets of donors and special interests, how truly weak they and their campaigns are,” Trump said in a press release on Sunday night. The property magnate described the primaries system as “totally rigged” but said he would rise above it: “This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!”
English version by Dyane Jean François.