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Cruz, Kasich Unveil Coordinated Strategy to Split States

In a rare showing, Ted Cruz and John Kasich released separate statements on Sunday, detailing a joint plan to try and rob Donald Trump of the Republican nomination.

“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,” Kasich chief strategist John Weaver said in a statement.

“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.”

The Hill reports:

Weaver went on to note that Indiana is a winner-take-all primary, implying that the anti-Trump movement stands to gain by coalescing around one candidate.

Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe echoed Weaver’s criticism of Trump and laid out his own strategy to pull out of Oregon and New Mexico.

“We would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead,” he said.

That signal may resonate with outside groups supporting the campaign, especially Cruz’s well-funded posse of super-PACs.

Trump holds just a single-digit lead over Cruz in most recent Indiana polling, while Kasich sits far behind. There hasn’t been recent polling in either Oregon or New Mexico.

“It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination,” Trump said in a statement early Monday.

“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,” he added.

The move by Trump’s rivals shows a concerted effort by the two campaigns based on current reality. Both Kasich and Cruz are mathematically eliminated from securing the nomination on the first ballot, while Trump would have to win about 60 percent of the remaining delegates in order to lock up the required 1,237 delegates to avoid a contested convention.

The ‘Never Trump’ groups had been calling on Kasich to stand down in Indiana in order to clear a path for Cruz, but he had not shown signs of backing down until now. His campaign claimed an inside-baseball victory in the state weeks before the primary, arguing it had secured the loyalties of the plurality of delegates, who could defect to Kasich in a contested convention.

Cruz has repeatedly framed a vote for Kasich, who sits hundreds of delegates behind him, as a vote in favor of Trump. And Kasich has regularly shot back by arguing that he is the only candidate that polls show beating Hillary Clinton in the fall.

One anti-Trump group formed by allies of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lauded the move in a statement.

“Whether you support Ted Cruz or John Kasich, a second ballot at the Convention is imperative to stopping Donald Trump,”
#NeverTrump senior adviser Rory Cooper said in a statement.

“We’re happy to see the Kasich and Cruz campaigns strategically using their resources to deny Donald Trump delegates where they are in the strongest position to do so.”

Photo credit: Fox 13 Now.

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