Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio have struck an alliance to defeat GOP front-runner Donald Trump. The two candidates’ campaigns have chosen to not compete with one another in upcoming primary battles.
On April 24, both campaigns announced that they would strategically stay out of each other’s way in order to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the Republican nomination on the first ballot of the July convention.
Cruz will not compete in the upcoming Oregon and New Mexico contests, states where Kasich has been tracking better. In return, the Ohio governor will not be campaigning in Indiana, where Cruz has the advantage.
"To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will … clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico," Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe announced in a statement, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver announced, "We will shift our campaign’s resources West and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana."
Trump’s response was swift and furious. The business mogul first took to social media to blast Cruz and Kasich, deeming their new tactic to be unfair.
"Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate," Trump tweeted. "Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!"
On April 25, Trump issued an official statement accusing Cruz and Kasich of rigging the primary.
"This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!" Trump stated.
Kasich has no mathematical path to winning the nomination on the first ballot. Cruz has significantly more delegates, but his path to clinching the nomination has narrowed to the point of impossible. Both candidates' most viable chance at becoming the Republican nominee is through a contested convention, in which delegates can choose their candidate on a second ballot.
Rory Cooper, the senior advisor of #NeverTrump, a group dedicated to denying Trump the party nomination, issued a statement praising the maneuver, The Washington Post reports.
“Whether you support Ted Cruz or John Kasich, a second ballot at the Convention is imperative to stopping Donald Trump," Cooper said. "We’re happy to see the Kasich and Cruz campaigns strategically using their resources to deny Donald Trump delegates where they are in the strongest position to do so.”
Trump needs to win 57 percent of the remaining delegates to secure the Republican nomination on the first ballot, according to NBC News.
Cruz would need 98 percent of the remaining delegates, while Kasich, who is already mathematically eliminated, would need to win 158 percent.
The Cruz and Kasich campaigns have noted that their alliance will only pertain to the Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico contests.