Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s State of the Union, said sources close to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told him the reason Cruz eventually decided to drop out of the GOP race for president was not because he could not win — rather, it was because the Cruz campaign was unsuccessful in recruiting Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to become Cruz’s vice president.
In an article written by Tapper titled “Cruz campaign: We could have stopped Trump if Rubio became running mate,” the CNN host said the Cruz campaign had conducted secret polls that indicated a Cruz/Rubio ticket would have resulted in what one of Tapper’s sources called a “blowout.” The poll was conducted in three states: Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri. A later poll was carried out in Arizona and Wisconsin.
Tapper’s source said if Rubio had paired with Cruz, the result would have been a “65% to 35%” win for Cruz with Trump losing in those states.
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But the sources say Rubio wasn’t interested in partnering with Cruz. “He went off the grid,” one said.
Sources within the Rubio campaign offered several reasons the Rubio campaign did not entertain the idea. The first was that the offer was never concrete. The second reason Rubio’s camp didn’t accept a VP offer was they felt it would play into Trump’s outsider argument. Third, with both candidates being of Cuban descent, Rubio’s camp didn’t believe Rubio was a compliment to Cruz. And last, they believed strongly the eventual nominee should be able to choose the vice president around the time of the convention, not while the primaries were still ongoing.
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While the above scenario was purely a hypothetical situation, the reality is Trump, in Tapper’s words, was “not stopped” and went on to win “Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Arizona.”
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