Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and his campaign are calling on Rubio supporters in Ohio to vote for Republican Gov. John Katich of Ohio on March 15 to defeat Donald Trump in the state (video below).
Speaking in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 11, Rubio stated, "If a voter in Ohio is motivated by stopping Donald Trump, and comes to the conclusion that John Kasich is the only one who can beat him there, then I expect that’s the decision they'll make."
This type of strategy was originally proposed by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who was defeated in the general election in 2012.
“I can tell you that in Florida, I’m the only one who can beat Donald Trump,” Rubio added. “Whether someone supports Ted Cruz or John Kasich, if you vote for them in Florida, you're in essence voting for Donald Trump. If a voter reaches the same conclusion in Ohio, then I think that's what they're going to do as well.”
Rubio said that he did not speak to Kasich about this matter.
"We were going to win in Ohio without his help, just as he's going to lose in Florida without ours,” Rob Nichols, a Kasich campaign spokesman, told POLITICO.
Different polls have Trump and Kasich leading by slim margins in Ohio, while Trump appears to have a sizable lead in Florida.
“We welcome the support of the Rubio campaign,” Trent Duffy, another Kasich spokesman, said.
"Voters don’t want to be told what to do," Duffy added. "We are not going to be presumptuous to instruct our voters how they should vote. The voters should vote their conscience. They should vote for the best person they think is best able to lead our country. We believe that man is John Kasich, everywhere across the country.”
Alex Conant, Rubio's campaign spokesman, told CNN on March 11, “I’m just stating the obvious: If you’re a Republican primary voter in Ohio and you want to beat Donald Trump, your best chance in Ohio is John Kasich."
He continued, "The same is true here in Florida, where if you want to beat Donald Trump here in Florida, where there’s 99 delegates at stake, you need to vote for Marco Rubio because he’s the only one with a mathematical shot."
CNN asked Conant if he was calling for voters in Ohio to support Kasich, and he replied, “Yes, my answer is John Kasich is the one candidate in Ohio that can beat Donald Trump."
If Trump wins Ohio and Florida (winner-take-all states) on March 15, some political observers believe the billionaire will eventually get the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination.