Cruz, Rubio Camps Discuss Delegates
Top political aides to Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz connected Friday to discuss how delegates currently bound to Rubio might be allocated, a Cruz campaign aide confirmed to RealClearPolitics.
Although the conversation between Rubio’s former campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, and Cruz Campaign Manager Jeff Roe was brief and no resolution was reached, the development suggests the two former rivals could be moving toward detente if not an active collaboration.
The Friday phone call came as speculation has heightened that the Florida senator could throw his support to Cruz. Such an alliance would provide a major boost not only to the Texas lawmaker but also to Republicans hoping to stop Donald Trump from locking up the party’s nomination prior to the convention and force the primary into overtime in Cleveland.
To date, the Rubio and Cruz camps have not conducted formal talks at the senior level, nor have their respective teams huddled in person, according to the Cruz aide who spoke with RCP. However, the former opponents themselves did speak Wednesday, after a call by Cruz to Rubio on Tuesday night went to voicemail. The campaigns would not discuss the details of that conversation.
If Rubio does decide to endorse Cruz, the aide said, that decision would likely be reached between the two of them, not among senior aides.
“Marco and Ted are good friends, so the reality is, this wouldn’t be like how other endorsements have taken place,” said the aide to Cruz. “The way this will happen is Marco and Ted will talk, and both of them will let us know.”
Another line of communication opened Friday, however, when Sullivan and Roe spoke by phone to discuss the fate of Rubio’s delegates. They also talked about the state of the race more generally, but did not touch on the possibility of an endorsement from Rubio.
Asked whether an agreement has been reached between the two camps, Roe said no. “We have no agreement … and any suggestion to the contrary is false,” he said. “Maybe it will become true, but that certainly is not the case right now in any shape, fashion or form.”
Still, there is feverish anticipation among close allies to Cruz of collaboration with Rubio, according to one person in Cruz’s political orbit. Indeed, according to that source, the constellation of pro-Cruz super PACs has begun to actively prepare for an endorsement by the Florida senator. Rubio’s own actions have seemed to suggest this eventuality: Earlier this week, he praised Cruz as “the only conservative left in the race” during a conference call with supporters in Minnesota, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.
Some former Rubio allies have meanwhile begun to line up behind Cruz, including South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who endorsed the Texas senator Wednesday. “My hope and prayer is that Sen. Cruz … can push through and really get to where he needs to go,” she told reporters in South Carolina, The State newspaper reported.
The candidate, for his part, heaped praise on Rubio after he suspended his campaign Tuesday, saying Rubio “inspires” him.
"Marco can paint a picture, can weave a tapestry of a promise of America, like nobody else,” Cruz said. “His presidential campaign inspired millions across the nation."
“To those who supported Marco, who worked so hard,” Cruz added, “we welcome you with open arms."