Cruz, Kasich Team Up to Keep Delegates From Trump in 3 Upcoming Primaries

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Republican Presidential Candidates Debate In Miami Area
Kasich and Cruz, temporary BFFs.Photo: Joe Raedle/2016 Getty Images

Ted Cruz and John Kasich make strange bedfellows, but Donald Trump’s ever-increasing delegate count has driven the Texas senator and the Ohio governor to unite against him. On Sunday, both campaigns released statements announcing they’ve agreed to coordinate their efforts to keep delegates from Trump; it’s an unusual move designed to stop Trump from clinching the required 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination and force the RNC to choose an alternative candidate in July.

The upcoming primaries in question are in Indiana, New Mexico, and Oregon. According to his team’s statement, Kasich will stop campaigning in Indiana to clear the way for a Cruz victory while Cruz does the same for him in New Mexico and Oregon. According to the Washington Post, the deal was discussed in a private meeting last week between Cruz’s and Kasich’s campaign managers and was finalized over the phone Sunday.

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,” read the Kasich campaign’s statement. “We will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well.”

In turn, the Cruz campaign declared: “Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation.” Therefore, it will “focus time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico.” Both campaigns urged their third-party supporters and surrogates to follow suit.

But the camaraderie won’t last forever — both campaigns reportedly said they plan to campaign hard in subsequent states, and especially in California, where a full 172 delegates are up for grabs. At the last Associated Press count, Trump is leading the field with 845 delegates while Cruz has 559 and Kasich has 148. 

Trump, being Trump, responded in kind.