By Phil Mattingly, Dan Berman and David Mark
(CNN) – Ted Cruz and John Kasich are joining forces in a last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination.
Within minutes of each other, the pair issued statements late Sunday saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his efforts to Oregon and New Mexico. The strategy — something the two campaigns have been working on for weeks — is aimed at blocking Trump from gaining the 1,237 delegates necessary to claim to GOP nomination this summer.
The extraordinary moves reflect the national strength Trump has shown and the inability of Republicans who oppose the New York billionaire to come together to stop him. Dividing up some of the remaining primary states by putting forward one strong alternative to Trump in each could be enough to take away delegates and curb Trump’s run to the nomination.
“This is a nationwide campaign and we’re making a decision where to focus our time, energy and resources,” Cruz told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday. “We are now focused very, very heavily on the state of Indiana. It is significant that John Kasich is pulling out of Indiana and allowing us to go directly head to head with Donald Trump.”
Kasich said Monday despite the agreement, he still wants Indiana voters to support him.
“They ought to vote for me,” he said during a gaggle with reporters at a Philadelphia diner.
“I’m not campaigning in Indiana and he’s not campaigning in these other states, that’s all. It’s not a big deal,” Kasich said.
Trump is the only candidate who can realistically get a first-ballot victory — there’s no mathematical path for Cruz or Kasich to clinch the nomination heading into the convention. The billionaire is poised for a strong performance Tuesday, when Republicans in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island head to the polls.
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/24/politics/ted-cruz-john-kasich-join-forces-to-stop-donald-trump/