CHICAGO (BLOOMBERG) - Donald Trump's two remaining Republican presidential nomination opponents have cut a deal to play in certain states and avoid others in an effort to try to stop dividing the anti-Trump vote.
The deal was announced Sunday (April 24) night in simultaneously released statements from the campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
"Our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead," Jeff Roe, Cruz's campaign manager, said in a statement.
"In other states holding their elections for the remainder of the primary season, our campaign will continue to compete vigorously to win."
John Weaver, Kasich's chief strategist, said Indiana's May 3 primary is especially important in the effort to stop the billionaire from winning the nomination.
"Due to the fact that the Indiana primary is winner-take- all statewide and by congressional district, keeping Trump from winning a plurality in Indiana is critical to keeping him under 1,237 bound delegates before Cleveland," Weaver said in a statement.
"We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign's resources west and give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana." Weaver said Kasich would instead focus resources on New Mexico and Oregon.
"We would expect independent, third-party groups to do the same and honour the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns," he said.
With Trump expected to do well in five northeast primaries on Tuesday, the move left some Republican operatives asking why something like this wasn't agreed to sooner. It's the first thing of any major significance Cruz or Kasich have done to try to shake up the race in months.
"What took them so long?" Jim Merrill, a Republican strategist who advised Senator Marco Rubio's failed presidential campaign, posted on Twitter after the announcements.
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