Trump, Cruz Plan to Shut Out Kasich
Delegate majority may be within Trump's reach
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2016 12:07 AM CDT
A two-man race?   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – The departure of Marco Rubio makes the GOP nomination race a two-man contest, according to the Donald Trump and Ted Cruz campaigns, although the John Kasich campaign begs to differ. With a contested convention now appearing to be a real possibility, the Trump and Cruz campaigns are moving to shut out the Ohio governor, who won his home state on Tuesday and who has pinned his hopes on the convention, Politico reports. Campaign aides say the combined Trump and Cruz delegates will be able to set the rules at a contested convention—and Kasich is unlikely to meet the threshold of having won eight states or territories, a rule that was introduced at the 2012 convention.

But Kasich may have an ace in the hole: Bloomberg reports that his campaign has hired veteran GOP operatives Stu Spencer and Charlie Black, who helped Gerald Ford defeat Ronald Reagan in 1976 at the last contested GOP convention. Trump, meanwhile—who won three out of five states on Tuesday and appears poised for victory in a close race in Missouri as well—might be able to amass an outright majority of delegates and avoid a contested convention if the race remains split three ways, according to the New York Times. He has split the delegates with Cruz in some close races, but in many of the "blue states" still to vote, Trump has a solid lead, with the opposition split evenly between Cruz and Kasich. (Most of Marco Rubio's delegates can't change sides.)