Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced Sunday they would work together to prevent Donald Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination.
The Cruz-Kasich join strategy is intended to stop Trump from winning the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. Failure to win the 1,237 delegates would lead to a contested convention in Cleveland this July where Cruz and Kasich think they would end up with the nomination.
As part of the strategy, Kasich will clear a path for Cruz in next week’s Indiana primary while Cruz will scale back operations in the other states voting on Tuesday.
“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.”
Trump’s campaign assailed the move by his rivals early Monday morning. “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.
“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.
Trump won a huge victory in New York’s primary last week and is expected to win big on Tuesday night when Pennsylvania and four other Atlantic states vote. In Indiana, Trump holds just a single-digit lead over Cruz.
A top Trump aide said that a win in Indiana’s primary would “slam the door” on Cruz and Kasich’s chances of winning the nomination.
“We’re ahead in Indiana, and if we do well in Indiana, we slam the door on everybody,” Sam Clovis said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.”