INDIANAPOLIS – Deal or no deal? Last weekend, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich agreed to team up to try and stop Donald Trump from securing the Republican nomination, in hopes of forcing a contested GOP convention.
“It is big news today that John Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana,” Cruz said Monday, before saying later in the week that “there is no alliance.”
“I don’t see this as any big deal,” Kasich said Monday. “Other than the fact that I”m not going to spend resources in Indiana. He’s not going to spend them in other places. So what? What’s the big deal?”
Both campaigns are asking supporters, and third-party groups like Super PACs, to follow their lead.
“It’s a strategy that will hopefully allow for an open convention in Cleveland,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said Monday, co-chair of Kasich’s Indiana campaign. “Yeah, I think it’s tough for Gov. Kasich supporters to be asked to vote for someone else, but if you stop and think about why it’s being done, it makes sense from a strategic standpoint.”
Cruz spent the weekend in Indiana, crisscrossing the state during a number of rallies and retail stops.
“Indiana’s voice is going to be heard on a national stage,” he said Saturday in Plainfield. “The entire country is looking at the state of Indiana.”
Trump responded on Twitter, calling the move an act of desperation.
“Collusion is often illegal in many other industries,” his campaign said in a statement. “And yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive. They are mathematically dead and this act only shows, as puppets of donors and special interests, how truly weak they and their campaigns are.”
Meantime, Trump’s Indiana campaign called the move “un-American” and “un-democratic.”
“If they want to get cross ways with the electorate, so be it, because the voters of Indiana are going to vote for Trump,” Rex Early said last week. “And if their vote don’t count, there’s going to be some mad people.”