Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz apparently have reached an agreement to combine forces against Donald Trump in upcoming Republican primaries.
In nearly simultaneous statements Sunday night, Cruz's campaign agreed not to contest Oregon and New Mexico, where Kasich is doing well, and to concentrate on the May 3 Indiana primary, where the conservative favorite Texas senator is running just behind Trump in the polls.
"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 Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead, Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement. "In other states holding their elections for the remainder of the primary season, our campaign will continue to compete vigorously to win."
John Weaver, chief strategist for Kasich, followed suit.
"Due to the fact that the Indiana primary is winner-take-all statewide and by congressional district, keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1237 bound delegates before Cleveland," Weaver said. "We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign's resources West and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana."
If the gambit works, the odds of a contested GOP national convention in Cleveland in July would increase. It remains to be seen if voters in the states under discussion will go along.