The John Kasich campaign said Sunday night that it plans to pull its resources out of the Indiana primary to help Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump one-on-one in that winner-take-all state.
Kasich campaign manager John Weaver acknowledged that he is basically teaming up with Cruz in order to keep Trump below 1,237 delegates. A Trump victory in the winner-take-all state of Indiana would give Trump 57 delegates. The Kasich campaign has already been working the Indiana delegates on a potential second ballot, and claims that it has locked up the support of more than half of them.
So instead of trying to actually win the primary on May 3, Team Kasich is clearing a path for Cruz to go up against Trump one-on-one.
“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,” Kasich campaign manager John Weaver said in a strategy memo Sunday night.
“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. 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.
In turn, 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. We would expect independent third-party groups to do the same and honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns.
We expect to compete with both the Trump and Cruz campaigns in the remaining primary states.”
The Establishment is pinning its hopes on Indiana. If the Establishment can’t stop Trump in Indiana, Bill Kristol has already declared that he will re-focus on his plan to put up a third-party independent candidate in November. That plan has already been condemned by the Republican National Committee as “helping to elect Hillary Clinton.”
If Indiana goes south, focus turns to an independent race. (And FWIW, Texas's early deadline probably won't stand up to legal challenge).
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 23, 2016