On Friday ultra-conservative Indiana Gov. Mike Pence broke to endorse Texas Sen. Ted Cruz—calling him a “principled conservative”—over his neighboring hard-right conservative governor, John Kasich.

At stake in next Tuesday’s Indiana primary are 57 delegates and maybe the Republican nomination for president. The collaborative fiasco between Camp Cruz and Camp Kasich, to relinquish Indiana to Cruz and western states like Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich, fell apart shortly after it was announced last Sunday. John Kasich helped it fall apart by refusing to advise his supporters to vote for Cruz in order to keep Donald Trump from winning. Conventional wisdom this week says that if Trump wins Indiana, it could essentially put him on a path to winning the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination before Republicans gather in Cleveland in July.

Breaking Bad

The only hope for the 63-year old, term-limited Ohio governor is that Mr. Trump doesn’t arrive in Cleveland with the delegates he needs, thereby opening the convention to more than one ballot, which gives Cruz or Kasich or someone else, who knows, maybe even Jeb! Bush, a shot at being named the nominee. But those odds are long, especially for Gov. Kasich since he’s performed so poorly over the last ten months, winning only one state out of 46.

The Indianapolis Star newspaper didn’t directly endorse Gov. Kasich, but it said he’s the best of the Republicans running. They also said the same thing about Hillary Clinton. “It’s unfortunate, in a nation of 320 million people, that voters must choose the next American president from the disappointing field of candidates now competing in the Democratic and Republican primaries,” the editorial said.”

On the insider-baseball Cruz-Kasich deal, the Star said this about Kasich complicity in agreeing to it: “The pact is aimed at preventing Trump from winning his party’s nomination. It’s unfortunate that Indiana voters have been given no chance to hear directly from the candidate most qualified to represent the Republican Party in the fall campaign for the White House.”

“The irony is that Kasich supporters have said they still plan to vote for the Ohio governor and some were so turned off by the tag-team effort that they have shifted their support to Mr. Trump,” The Washington Times reported on the turmoil roiling in Indiana just days ahead of next Tuesday’s primary.

The president of a conservative group said that smart moves made by Ted Cruz, including his pick of Carly Fiorina as his vice president, could help his chances if the convention goes to multiple ballots. Frank Cannon, president of the American Principles Project, wasn’t as sanguine about John Kasich. “I think that anything that smacks of something that is not a straightforward reliance on the voters and on the voter’s preference — in this election cycle particularly — looks like some kind of insider deal-making, which is precisely the thing that voters are reacting against,” Cannon said about Mr. Kasich.

GOPers Start Forming Trump Line

Meanwhile, AP Congressional Correspondent Erica Werner reported that Florida Rep. Tom Rooney, once a leading backer of Marco Rubio, said it’s time to move on. “The people have spoken. The Republican primary electorate has spoken so he deserves the opportunity to be our nominee. If he [Trump] screws it up as the nominee and hurts the down-ballot ticket, then he screws it up. But right now the people want him to be the nominee.”

Worth another mention is a new poll by respect national pollster John Zogby, which says Hillary Clinton beats Gov. John Kasich. In Zogby’s matchup, 44 percent of all likely U.S. voters choose Mrs. Clinton, 41 percent Mr. Kasich and 15 percent are not sure.

The Indiana AP reported that Ted Cruz scheduled a rally for Friday morning in Indianapolis, followed by stops later in Jeffersonville and Evansville after he campaigned Thursday in northern Indiana. At the same time, GOP league leader Donald Trump drew an estimated 12,000 people to an Evansville rally Thursday.

Good News For Kasich?

As Republicans line up behind either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, Gov. Kasich got a taste of good news for a change Friday. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce endorsed him. It also endorsed Hillary Clinton. The group cited GOP front-runner Donald Trump in saying “the country cannot afford to have people who would divide the country and prey on Americans’ fears as president.”

But one immigrant advocacy group took issue with the endorsement. Lynn Tramonte, director of Ohio’s Voice, said Latino families asked Mr. Kasich last year to end his opposition to President Obama’s deportation amnesties but Mr. Kasich declined to do so. That “cannot be ignored,” Ms. Tramonte said, according to reports.

 

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