Ted Cruz and John Kasich on Sunday night released a pair of statements about their new, coordinated effort to derail Donald Trump from cobbling together the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination on the convention’s first ballot. Cruz will focus resources on Indiana, where polls show he trails Trump by about six points, while Kasich will concentrate his efforts on 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,” Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said.
Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, said his campaign is “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.”
One small problem with this strategy? John Kasich doesn’t appear in the election guide that was sent out to Oregon voters last week. Republicans consulting the pamphlet wouldn’t even know that the Ohio governor is on the ballot in their state.
“He is not in our voters’ pamphlet because he did not send us any materials,” Molly Woon, spokesperson for Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, tells Rolling Stone. The deadline to appear in the voters’ guide was March 10th.
“We sent him and all of the candidates that will appear on our ballot a letter on January 12th saying, ‘You’re going to be on the ballot, and here’s the process to be in the voters’ pamphlet,’ and we never heard anything,” Woon says.
(The Kasich campaign did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.)
The blunder is just one of several issues with the “targeted withdrawal” strategy Republican candidates already tried, with mixed results, back in March. (Kasich won Ohio after Marco Rubio encouraged his own supporters to throw their weight behind the governor in that primary, but Rubio lost his own state in spite of the fact that his rivals pulled ads off the Florida airwaves before the primary.)
Case in point: When asked Monday who his supporters in Indiana should vote for in the primary, Kasich said, “I’ve never told them not to vote for me. They ought to vote for me.”
Indiana, where voters will head to the polls in two weeks, is poised to be significantly more important than the Oregon primary, which won’t take place until May 17th, or, really, any of the primaries left on the calendar. Indiana is a winner-take-all contest on both the Congressional district and statewide levels, making it Trump’s last best chance to scoop up enough delegates heading into the California primary on June 7th.