Washington: Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich have said they will coordinate with each other in an effort to stop frontrunner Donald Trump from becoming the party nominee, which the real estate tycoon dismissed as an act of "desperation".
Texas senator Cruz and Ohio governor Kasich issued statements that they would not compete with each other in several states to try and stop Trump from securing the necessary 1,237 delegates before the Cleveland convention in July which they hope would make it a contested convention and thus open up their paths to the White House.
"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 Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead," Cruz's campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement.
Kasich's campaign also issued a similar statement.
"Due to the fact that the Indiana primary is winner-takes-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," said John Weaver, chief strategist for 'Kasich for America'.
"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," he said.
"In turn, we will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Governor Kasich is performing well," Weaver said.
As of Sunday Trump had 845 delegates to Cruz's 559.
A candidate needs to have at least 1,237 delegates to earn the Republican presidential nomination.
However both Cruz and Kasich's campaigns asserted it is only they who are best suitable to get the party's nomination.
"Donald Trump doesn't have the support of a majority of Republicans – not even close, but he currently does have almost half the delegates because he's benefited from the existing primary system. Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee," Weaver said.
"Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our
nominee would set the party back a generation," Roe said.
Trump reacted on Twitter as he slammed both Cruz and Kasich, describing their alliance as an act of desperation.
"Wow, just announced that Lyin' Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!," Trump said.
"Lyin' Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!," he tweeted.
"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 said in a statement on Monday.
Trump said the coming together of Cruz and Kasich with the sole objective of preventing him from becoming the Republican presidential nominee despite he having got millions of votes
is reflective of the rigged Republican presidential system.
"Because of me, everyone now sees that the Republican primary system is totally rigged. 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.
"It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for 10 months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination," Trump said.
"Cruz has done very poorly and after his New York performance, which was a total disaster, he is in free fall and as everyone has seen, he does not react well under pressure," Trump charged.
Also, approximately 80 percent of the Republican Party is against him, Trump added.
"Governor Kasich, who has only won one state out of 41, in other words, he is 1 for 41 and he is not even doing as well as other candidates who could have stubbornly stayed in the race like him but chose not to do so," he said.
"Marco Rubio, as an example, has more delegates than Kasich and yet suspended his campaign one month ago. Others, likewise, have done much better than Kasich, who would get slaughtered by Hillary Clinton once the negative ads against him begin. 85 percent of Republican voters are against Kasich," he added.
"Collusion is often illegal in many other industries and yet these two Washington insiders have had to revert to collusion in order to stay alive," Trump charged.
"They are mathematically dead and this act only shows, as puppets of donors and special interests, how truly weak they and their campaigns are," he said.