What Rubio Is Telling Top Donors
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, seeking to recover from what was described as a disappointing Super Tuesday, is aiming his fire at Ohio Governor John Kasich to make the argument why he failed to stop Donald Trump and how he could win in future primary states.
In a conference call to donors on Wednesday, Rubio’s campaign manager Terry Sullivan echoed what the candidate himself was saying in a round of media interviews that only 36 percent of Republicans voted for Trump on Super Tuesday, while 64 percent voted for candidates who are anti-Trump.
Sullivan put part of the blame for Rubio’s losses, particularly in Virginia, on Kasich. “Kasich is hurting us more than anyone else,” he said, according to a donor who participated in the conference call. “We need Kasich to drop out. Polling has 65 percent of Kasich voters moving to us [if Kasich drops out.]”
The Rubio campaign insisted that without Kasich competing for the same votes on Super Tuesday, Rubio would have made the 20 percent threshold in Texas to pick up some delegates, and would have beaten Trump in Virginia.
“Not to be sour grapes, but Kasich is hurting us the most, and the votes are going to Trump, not Kasich,” Sullivan was quoted as saying.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, on Thursday made the case against Trump, but failed to point to a specific candidate who can stop the current front-runner. “If the other candidates can find common ground, I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism,” Romney said during a speech to the Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.”
Responding to Sullivan’s comments, Kasich’s senior strategist John Weaver told Jewish Insider, “This a campaign. This is not a campaign for class’ favorite. You have to go out there and earn your votes. They should be focused on winning Florida and not so much worrying about us.”
Weaver called the Rubio campaign “hypocrites,” since it was their campaign who sent a surrogate to the State of Vermont to specifically urge voters not to vote for Kasich, which cost the Ohio Governor probably 1,000 votes. “Last time I checked, us winning up there would’ve helped slow down Trump,” he said.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Kasich said he’s confident that if he pulls out a win in the Ohio primary, he can do well in Pennsylvania and Missippi as well as be competitive in New York and New Jersey. “If I win Ohio, then I think we go to the convention and [Trump] is not going to be the nominee. I am going to be the nominee,” said Kasich.
Added Weaver, “We are going to win Ohio. And from what I can tell, they are going to lose Florida, and this is going give Mr. Sullivan plenty of time to pore over data for the next six months.”
Going forward, Sullivan expressed confidence that Rubio would do better in the upcoming “closed” primaries, where only Republicans are allowed to participate. He also maintained that supporters of Ben Carson – who is expected to announce he is dropping out of the race on Friday – are split between Ted Cruz and Rubio, according to internal polling data.
Sullivan also assured voters that Rubio will continue to attack Trump, but that the focus would be less personal, instead pointing out Trump’s dishonesty and lack of policy.