Republican John Kasich will skip campaigning in Indiana and focus on upcoming primaries in New Mexico and Oregon, his campaign announced in a Twitter post on Sunday.
In a written statement, the campaign said it would “give the [Ted] Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana,” which will hold its primary May 3. Republican Donald Trump is leading in Indiana, according to recent polls.
“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,” the statement said.
The move is part of a larger strategy by Kasich and Cruz to try to stop Trump from earning enough delegates to win the nomination outright.
The Cruz campaign issued a statement Sunday night saying that it would focus its resources on Indiana and "clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico." The Cruz campaign said it hoped "that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead."
Trump on Sunday night blasted Cruz and Kasich 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!"
Cruz has two campaign stops in Indiana planned for Monday. He’ll be at Huber's Orchard and Winery in Borden at 10:30 a.m. and then host a rally at 6:30 p.m. at the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds in Franklin.
"Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans," the Cruz campaign said. "Not only would Trump get blown out by [Hillary] Clinton or [Bernie] Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation."
Kasich had been scheduled to attend an event in Noblesville on Tuesday but it has been taken off his website. A spokesman for the campaign said more information about the Noblesville event will be released Monday.
Polls show Kasich is in third place in Indiana, behind Trump and Cruz. However, Kasich’s campaign organizers in Indiana say that he has the support of the majority of the state’s 57 delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Those delegates are bound to vote for the state’s primary winner on the first ballot at the convention. But if no candidate wins a majority on that round, the delegates could switch their allegiance.
Cruz had been pushing Kasich to get out of the race, saying that he and Trump are the only candidates with any chance of getting the delegates needed to win the nomination outright. But Kasich has been hoping to prevent either candidate from winning a majority, opening the race to him or other candidates.
Now Cruz and Kasich have joined forces in their effort to stop Trump.
The Kasich campaign said it expects to “compete with both the Trump and Cruz campaigns in the remaining primary states.”
Pro-Cruz super PACs have announced they planned to spend more than $3 million in Indiana, in part to try to stop Hoosiers from voting for Kasich. Some of those ads have already been purchased but the announcement Sunday might lead them to change tactics.