Nick Gass writes that Ted Cruz’s and John Kasich’s strategic withdrawal from late presidential primaries “got off to a rocky start.”
The alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich got off to a rocky start on Monday, with the Ohio governor immediately undermining the pact and Cruz getting assailed by tough questions as he tried to pitch the deal as the best way to deny Donald Trump the GOP nomination.
It didn’t help that Kasich doesn’t seem fully on board.
“I’ve never told them not to vote for me; they should vote for me,” Kasich said about Indiana during a prickly exchange with reporters at a Philadelphia diner.
“Kasich just announced that he wants the people of Indiana to vote for him,” Trump tweeted. “Typical politician — can’t make a deal work.”
Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe and Weaver touched base in person while attending last week’s Republican National Committee spring meeting in Hollywood, Florida, and agreed to stay in touch, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. On Friday, they spoke by phone and agreed to make something happen — and that same day, Cruz aides were informed that a negotiation was in the works. A day later, they reached an agreement about a specific plan of action. At no point did Cruz or Kasich talk with each other about a prospective deal.
The alliance of sorts comes after Kasich finished March with a little more than $1.2 million in the bank, blowing through $4.6 million while raising $4.5 million. Cruz, meanwhile, raised $12.5 million in March, ending the month with $8.8 million on hand. And though anti-Trump groups are already putting dollars into Indiana — the Club for Growth last week announced it was spending $1.5 million on an ad declaring: “To stop Trump, Vote Cruz” — Trump, who recently signaled his willingness to spend $20 million in upcoming states, essentially has access to unlimited resources.
Cruz, facing a barrage of questions from reporters before a rally in Borden, Indiana, said his alliance with Kasich is “entirely about the will of the people” and cast it as a pragmatic effort to stop a man who would lose badly in November.
“This is about winning the votes of the Hoosier State, giving Indiana the opportunity to choose, and we’re at a fork in the road. We’re at a fundamental fork in the road,” Cruz said. “And I’ll tell you, here in the state of Indiana, Donald Trump at the top of the ticket losing in a landslide would cost Republicans seats all throughout the state of Indiana.”
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