Rubio Campaign Calls for Republicans in Ohio to Vote for John Kasich to Beat Donald Trump

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 11, 2016   |   1:29PM   |   Washington, DC

In what may be a first for a modern-day presidential campaign, a spokesman for pro-life Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign is calling on voters in the state of Ohio to vote for pro-life Governor John Kasich. The hope is a Kasich win in Ohio combined with a Rubio victory in Florida will effectively prevent Trump from clinching the GOP nomination.

Polls in Ohio show Kasich leading the race there and two recent Florida polls have Rubio gaining on Trump, who some pro-life voters see as not pro-life enough for the nomination given his repeated praise for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Here’s the latest:

Marco Rubio’s communications director said Friday that GOP primary rival Gov. John Kasich is the best candidates for Republicans who want to defeat Donald Trump in the governor’s home state of Ohio.

“If you are a Republican primary voter in Ohio and you want to defeat Donald Trump, your best chance in Ohio is John Kasich,” Alex Conant told CNN’s “At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan,” adding Rubio was the best candidate to debate Trump in Florida.

When asked specifically if he was telling Rubio supporters in Ohio to vote for Kasich, Conant responded, “Yeah, my answer is John Kasich is the one candidate in Ohio that can beat Donald Trump. That’s stating the obvious. So … if you’re a Republican primary voter in Ohio, and you don’t want Donald Trump to be the nominee, John Kasich is your best bet.”

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While not entirely surprising, Conant’s comments show that efforts to stop Trump, which had been relatively muted during Thursday’s CNN debate, had not completely evaporated.

Rubio gave a slightly less forward message after Conant’s comments when he was asked about them at event in Naples.

“I’ve never talked to John Kasich about this. Clearly John Kasich has a better chance of winning in Ohio and if a voter concludes that that’s the best chance to beat Donald Trump, in Ohio, then they will do that,” Rubio said.

The Florida senator emphasized there had not been a discussion between him and Kasich about stopping Trump’s rise.

“This is stuff from ‘House of Cards,’ it’s not real life,” Rubio said.

The call for Ohioans to vote for Kasich comes on the same day former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson endorsed Trump.