Ted Cruz and John Kasich have decided to join forces to try to deny frontrunner Donald Trump their Republican party’s presidential nomination, their campaigns said on Sunday.
The sudden alliance revealed in short statements arose due to the pressing timing of their party’s presidential primary season: Trump, a wealthy property developer and reality television star, has pushed close to amassing the number of delegates to their party convention that would ensure he will be Republican standard-bearer.
Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said the campaign would “focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico”. Kasich’s team put out a similar statement.
“Both know their best shot at preventing Trump from clinching the nomination outright is to team up to block his path and force a contested convention. And it may still be too late,” Politico reported.
A dismissive Trump said on Twitter: “Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!”
Some influential party figures such as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney have aligned with a stop Trump movement, which may or may not be benefiting Trump’s chief rival Cruz, an arch-conservative US senator from Texas.
Cruz told reporters Trump has been “lying to us” and is pretending to be a conservative in order to “fool gullible voters”.
Barely 36 hours before voters in five state head to the polls, Trump lashed out at Cruz, accusing him of “bribing” all-important delegates as part of the convoluted primary system for choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees.
Trump has repeatedly described the process as rigged, and has mocked the party for allowing campaigns to bestow gifts such as flights and dinners on delegates.
Trump is leading in Republican polls in all five states that vote Tuesday: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.