Ted Cruz+John Kasich

The agreement is an acknowledgement by the Ted Cruz and John Kasich campaigns that neither candidate can overtake Donald Trump before the convention, but that they can still deny him a first-ballot victory. | AP Photo

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Politico

By Katie Glueck and Kyle Cheney
Published: 04/24/16 – 10:21 PM EDT
Updated:   04/24/16 – 11:09 PM EDT

Ted Cruz and John Kasich have begun coordinating their campaign strategy to stop Donald Trump, an abrupt alliance announced Sunday night that includes Kasich quitting his efforts in Indiana and Cruz clearing a path for the Ohio governor in Oregon and New Mexico.

“To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, 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,” Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement.

Trump fired back late Sunday on Twitter, writing, “Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!”

He added, for good measure: “Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!”

Trump followed up early Monday morning with a lengthier statement released by his campaign, calling out both rivals for reverting to “collusion” to stop him.

“When two candidates who have no path to victory get together to stop a candidate who is expanding the party by millions of voters, (all of whom will drop out if I am not in the race) it is yet another example of everything that is wrong in Washington and our political system,” he said. “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!”

The new Cruz-Kasich pact is an acknowledgment that neither man can overtake Trump in the race, and both know their best shot at preventing Trump from clinching the nomination outright is to team up to block his path and force a contested convention. And it may still be too late: Trump is closing in on the number of delegates he needs to win the nomination.

The deal also highlights the urgency the anti-Trump forces feel in Indiana, where a strong Cruz performance in the May 3 primary could deny the Manhattan billionaire 57 of the delegates he needs to reach a majority before the Republican National Convention convenes in July. For now, Trump leads in the RealClearPolitics average of Indiana polls by 6.3 percentage points. Cruz is competing hard, however, and supportive super PACs had plans to spend more than $1 million there in an ad buy that included an anti-Kasich spot.

The move allows Kasich to focus on two smaller-market states where his limited campaign cash might have greater impact than it would in Indiana. Kasich ended March with barely more than $1 million on hand.

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