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Cruz and Kasich could bring their anti-Trump alliance to California, the biggest delegate prize

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Ted Cruz and John Kasich try a new tack in the move to keep Donald Trump from securing the Republican nomination.

Donald Trump calls Cruz-Kasich deal corrupt

Donald Trump portrayed rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich as weak, pathetic and corrupt on Monday as he denounced their state-by-state deal to try to block him from capturing the Republican presidential nomination.

“If you collude in business, or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail,” Trump told supporters at a rally here on the eve of five East Coast primaries. “But in politics, because it’s a rigged system, because it’s a corrupt enterprise, in politics you’re allowed to collude.”

On Sunday night, Kasich promised to “give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana,” while Cruz vowed to clear the way for Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico.

But Kasich, the governor of Ohio, muddled the terms of his deal with the Texas senator when he said Monday that he still hoped voters in Indiana’s May 3 primary would back him.

“I’ve never told them not to vote for me; they ought to vote for me,” Kasich said at a diner near the Philadelphia airport. “But I’m not over there campaigning and spending resources. We have limited resources.”

A Republican familiar with discussions between the Cruz and Kasich campaigns said the two sides would also talk about a potential deal for California’s June 7 primary, the biggest contest of the race. The person agreed to discuss strategy only if granted anonymity.

Most of California’s 172 delegates will be awarded winner-take-all in each of the state’s 53 congressional districts, complicating talks on how Cruz and Kasich might join forces to stop Trump.

It’s far from clear that the attempt to consolidate the anti-Trump vote will succeed. Similar efforts against the New York real estate developer by Mitt Romney and other Republican officials have foundered in previous contests.

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Fiorina being vetted by Cruz campaign as potential vice-presidential pick

Unsuccessful presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina is being vetted as a potential vice presidential pick by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Fiorina aide said Monday.

Fiorina, 61, has been an active supporter of Cruz since shortly after she ended her own presidential bid in February, frequently introducing him at campaign events and fundraisers.

Cruz’s campaign manager tweeted that aides had begun vetting possible picks, but he didn’t name any.

Fiorina has never held elected office. She unsuccessfully ran for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in 2010 and was painted as a heartless corporate chief who enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle as she moved jobs offshore before being fired herself at H-P. Democrats would certainly resurrect those attacks if Cruz wins the nomination and picks her as his running mate.

When Fiorina launched her presidential campaign in 2015, she was an afterthought whom few voters had ever heard of. A pair of sterling debate performances briefly increased her standing in the polls, but her campaign failed to capitalize on the momentum in a crowded GOP field. Fiorina received 2% of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and 4% in the New Hampshire primary before ending her campaign.

Fiorina is scheduled to speak at the California Republican Party’s convention in Burlingame on Saturday.

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And then there was the Trump house

You’ve seen the Trump T-shirts, hats and bumper stickers. But how about the Trump house?

On a two-lane highway about an hour’s drive east of Pittsburgh is a site to behold: a two-story house painted in the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag and arrayed with huge signs for Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Owner Leslie Rossi is fixing up the stately old place along Route 982 for a rental, but she thought it could do double duty first as a voter education project.

She had spent weekends holding signs and passing out stickers for Trump along the road, which is a busy route to nearby Latrobe.

But once she learned about Pennsylvania’s unique delegate system, the mom of eight decided to take bolder action. She painted the place red, white and blue a few weeks back.

“I decided to paint that house for awareness,” she said by phone Monday after spending the morning passing out Trump delegate information cards to motorists.

The party system is “taking votes away from him,” she said. “That’s not fair.”

Rossi, who grew up nearby and married into a family that is one of the area’s bigger employers, buys old properties in this former steel town. Like many in the area, it is rich in history but has seen better times.

Along the sleepy main street, she’s fixing up a building -- perhaps apartments on the top floors, shops below, she’s thinking -- that in the meantime serves as a Trump campaign ad.

Voters around here will probably be fairly split in Tuesday’s primary election, residents said over the weekend. But few seemed to begrudge Rossi her Trump house.

“I love it,” said resident Deborah Hart, a Republican, grabbing a bite at the Youngstown Grill & Market. She said she spotted the house when she was taking her terrier to dog agility classes.

“I wish I had the guts to do it on my farm.”

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Trump backers in Rhode Island: Cruz-Kasich deal is ‘disgusting’

Donald Trump supporters said on Monday that they were appalled and offended by Ted Cruz’s and John Kasich’s newfound alliance aimed at denying Trump delegates, saying it underscored what was wrong with the nation’s political system.

“That’s disgusting,” said Michelle Dalessio, 64, of Providence, after seeing Trump rally thousands of his supporters here the day before Rhode Island and four other states vote. “I agree with a lot of what Trump says – the thing is rigged. What does my vote count for if they’re going to have all these delegates deciding what the people want? It’s wrong. It is so wrong.”

Dalessio, a retired bookkeeper, said the move highlights the key difference between Trump and the rest of the GOP field, and the reason she is supporting the businessman turned reality television host.

“He’s not a politician; that’s what I like,” she said. “He’s definitely not a politician. He’s different, somebody normal who understands things.”

Cruz and Kasich announced late Sunday that they are clearing the path for one another in a handful of states in an effort to stop Trump from accumulating the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.

The alliance, deemed “pathetic” by Trump, aligns with his message that he is a true political outsider competing against Washington, D.C., insiders who are responsible for the nation’s problems.

“They do whatever they can to get elected,” said Tory Maclean, 64, of Foster, R.I. In contrast, “Trump has got good ideas and he says everything that we wanted to say but couldn’t say.”

“And he says it nice and harsh,” added her sister, Irene Marrow, of East Greenwich, R.I., who said she lost her job to workers in India, a frequent Trump talking point. “He’s not a politician.”

His supporters also were confident the alliance would ultimately make no difference, and that Trump would win the nomination.

Craig Lacedra, clad in a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, two Trump 2016 buttons and a Boston Red Sox bomber jacket, called the alliance “wrong” and “unethical,” but ultimately irrelevant.

“He’s going to have enough delegates to take it on the first ballot,” said the 47-year-old from Revere, Mass. He voted for Trump in his state’s primary and is volunteering for the campaign in Connecticut and Rhode Island in advance of Tuesday’s primaries in those states. “He’s just the man for this time, and it’s like a perfect storm for him to become president.”

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Trump supporters say Cruz-Kasich plan only deepens their disgust with the GOP establishment

Pennsylvania voter Angelina Burger was already angry at the Republican establishment. That’s why she is backing Donald Trump.

But the announcement late Sunday that Trump’s GOP rivals for the White House are coordinating to stop him from accumulating delegates pushed her over the edge.

“It’s an insult,” said Burger, one of thousands of people who lined up early outside a Trump rally in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester on Monday. “It’s going against everything people want.”

Of the GOP, she said, “they’re just not listening to the people. The Republican establishment is willing to disrupt their party even more just to prevent Trump from getting in.”

Burger, 46, said she had once thought of supporting John Kasich, but no longer, because he and fellow candidate Ted Cruz said they would divvy up three upcoming contests in an attempt to keep Trump from securing the nomination,

“I’m surprised Kasich would do it,” Burger said. “I thought he was a little bit more refined.”

Dottie Levasseur, 73, another Trump supporter at the rally, said the move “shows desperation,” echoing Trump’s own complaint.

“It’s terrible that two people are now going against one,” said Levasseur. “The establishment put that together because they’re afraid of Trump.”

If Trump keeps winning delegates but is denied the nomination at this summer’s Republican convention, “the Republican Party will never be the same,” she predicted.

“Play fair,” she cautioned Republican leaders. “We’re fed up.”

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Trump calls Cruz and Kasich alliance ‘pathetic’

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at Republican rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz for forming an alliance in which they would divvy up three upcoming state contests in a coordinated effort to stop him from accumulating delegates.

“You know, if you collude in business, or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail. But in politics, because it’s a rigged system, because it’s a corrupt enterprise, in politics you’re allowed to collude,” Trump said, adding that their alliance “shows how pathetic they are.”

He added that he had more votes and delegates than Cruz and Kasich combined, despite the fact that they’re long-term politicians.

Trump was reacting to the announcement Sunday night that Kasich would forgo campaigning in Indiana, allowing Cruz to focus on the 57 delegates up for grabs in the state’s May 3 primary. Cruz would forgo Oregon later in May, and New Mexico in June. Those two states have a total of 52 delegates at stake.

A Cruz campaign insider described the arrangement as a “short-term marriage of convenience” that the Texas senator’s campaign agreed to once it became apparent that holding down Trump’s numbers in Indiana is vital to stopping him from reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.

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‘What’s the big deal?’ John Kasich asks about big anti-Trump deal with Cruz

The morning after announcing a deal with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to try to block Donald Trump from the Republican presidential nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich insisted Monday that the agreement was narrow and in no way suggested desperation.

Cruz and Kasich announced Sunday night that Kasich would cease campaigning in Indiana and Cruz would not campaign in Oregon and New Mexico, with the hope of consolidating the anti-Trump vote in one candidate.

The deal, which anti-Trump activists have been demanding for weeks, is meant to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination — which would throw the party’s pick to delegates at the summer national convention, where Cruz and Kasich hope to claim it by stoking fear over Trump’s impact.

Kasich said Monday at an appearance in a Philadelphia diner that he was not asking his Indiana supporters to vote for Cruz, which would seem to be a key element for the deal to accomplish its goal.

“I’ve never told them not to vote for me; they ought to vote for me,” Kasich said. “But I’m not over there campaigning and spending resources. We have limited resources.”

When asked repeatedly why he cut the deal with Cruz now, Kasich returned to his campaign’s finances, effectively acknowledging that he lacks the money to press his campaign in all of the remaining states.

“We want to apply our resources where we think they can be used most effectively,” he said. “It’s all designed to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.”

He added later that “what Donald Trump needs to understand is that he cannot beat Hillary Clinton.”

The stakes for Republicans are immense, said Kasich, who has earned few delegates outside his home state of Ohio.

“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that we don’t lose the United States Senate, the Supreme Court, the states and the local courthouses,” he said. “I don’t see this as any big deal other than the fact that I’m not going to spend resources in Indiana and he’s not going to spend in other places, so what’s the big deal?”

Trump immediately cast it as a big deal on Sunday night, releasing a statement denouncing the two.

“It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination,” the statement said.

A Trump supporter outside the diner shouted “collaborator” at the governor when he arrived.

Kasich on Monday said that he would not respond to Trump. Asked if the deal with Cruz suggested his campaign was desperate, he replied sarcastically.

“Me? No, I’m not desperate. Are you? Are you desperate? Because I’m not.”

His planned campaign events Tuesday in Indiana were scrubbed, and his campaign later sent out a revised schedule announcing a trip to Oregon on Thursday.

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The Cruz-Kasich strategy of teaming up against Trump could continue in California

As The Times’ Seema Mehta reported, Ted Cruz and John Kasich will sit out certain primaries to give the other a better shot against Donald Trump -- but California presents a special case. Most of the state’s 172 delegates are awarded to winners of each congressional district. Kasich and Cruz each play well in different parts of the state, perhaps requiring more involved coordination than simply sitting out a state’s entire nominating contest.

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California billionaire Tom Steyer launches $25-million push to register millennial voters

California billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer is launching a $25-million effort to register young voters.

Steyer’s group, NextGen Climate Action, announced Monday that it plans to deploy organizers to hundreds of college campuses in seven states ahead of the November election.

“They have the most at stake,” Steyer said of young voters. “We’re determined that they will be a difference-maker.”

Steyer, who has been said to be considering a run for California governor, has spent tens of millions of dollars in previous elections backing candidates who support boosting renewable energy and other efforts aimed at combating climate change.

He spent $74 million in 2014 alone, leading some to describe him as the Democratic equivalent of the Koch brothers.

His group’s latest effort aims to shape politics by changing the makeup of the electorate. Polls show that younger voters are more likely than their older counterparts to believe that global warming is an important issue that must be addressed.

The new registration drive will target college students in Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, several of which are swing states in presidential elections.

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Cruz, Kasich teaming up shows an ‘act of desperation,’ Trump says

Ted Cruz’s and John Kasich’s plan to join forces against Donald Trump is a “horrible act of desperation,” Trump said, calling the strategy “collusion” and declaring it illegal.

“It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination,” Trump said in a statement.

The pair announced Sunday that they plan to split their campaign efforts in three upcoming state primaries — Oregon, New Mexico and Indiana — to minimize Trump’s delegate haul. At stake are 57 delegates in Indiana and 52 from New Mexico and Oregon combined.

Trump continued to argue that Kasich, whose only primary win came in his home state of Ohio, doesn’t deserve to stay in the race and that Cruz, despised by many leading Republicans, would hurt the party as a presidential candidate. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would crush them in a general election, Trump said.

“They are mathematically dead and this act only shows, as puppets of donors and special interests, how truly weak they and their campaigns are,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his complaints Monday morning:

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Chamber of Commerce CEO: Cruz-Kasich alliance may not be enough to stop Trump

The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said he wasn’t sure that a new alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich would prevent Donald Trump from securing the Republican presidential nomination.

“At the rate he is gathering delegates, that may be rather hard,” Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue told reporters at a major international trade show here.

But anyone who could predict the outcome of the nominating race “is a lot smarter than I am,” said Donohue, both the leader of an institution with longstanding ties to the GOP establishment and a frequent critic of Trump’s anti-trade rhetoric.

“I would simply say that I didn’t have them before, but I now have hotel rooms in Cleveland,” the host city for the July GOP convention, Donohue said.

Donohue was speaking at a briefing hosted by the White House a day after he joined President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and business leaders from both countries for dinner. A chief priority of many was reviving a stalled U.S.-European Union trade deal.

Obama said at a news conference Sunday that he was confident the details could be finalized by the end of the year, which would leave ratification and congressional approval of the deal to Obama’s successor.

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Charles Koch opts out of attending the GOP convention

Billionaire GOP donor Charles Koch sees no point in attending the July Republican convention.

“Why go?” he said in an interview with ABC News published Monday.

Koch said he and his brother and their advocacy network are looking to build a culture that will improve lives, and that their interests don’t necessarily lie in politics. He added that the personal attacks to which presidential candidates have resorted disappoint him.

He said House Speaker Paul Ryan responds better when it comes to GOP issues, but that like Ryan himself, he doesn’t think the congressional leader can run so late in the race.

“I don’t see how he could win,” Koch said. “If he did, I mean that would create the impression this whole thing is rigged, which — that’s the opposite of the direction we want to go.”

Koch said “it’s possible” that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton might offer a better presidential alternative to any current GOP candidate.

“We’re not for somebody because they’re Republican or against them because they are Democrat,” he said. “If the Democrats will do a better job, we would support them.”

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How California’s U.S. Senate ballot could cause problems for the June 7 primary

If elections officials could send just one message to California’s 17.2 million registered voters about the U.S. Senate primary in June, it would probably be this: Read the instructions carefully.

“It’s not necessarily intuitive on how to properly mark this ballot,” said Kammi Foote, registrar of voters for Inyo County. And a mistake could keep a ballot from counting.

On primary day, the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer will feature 34 candidates. Only four of those candidates have received appreciable support in public polling so far, and five will appear at the first Senate debate Monday night.

But the full field is larger than any single roster of statewide contenders since the colossal list of 135 candidates who ran in the 2003 special election that recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis. (To make the ballot, candidates must pay about $3,500 or collect 10,000 signatures.)

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Trump and Clinton joust in Pennsylvania as underdogs nip at their heels

Donald Trump holds a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., on April 21.
(Mark Makela / Getty Images)

As Tuesday’s quintuple primaries near, the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns appear to be moving in tandem for the first time.

Front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are targeting each other with an eye to November’s general election and are mostly ignoring their party challengers. Behind them, their rivals are still aiming at the front-runners in a desperate effort to gain ground before the primary season spirals further out of their control.

Polls suggest that voters in Pennsylvania, the biggest of the Tuesday primaries, are lining up behind Clinton and Trump much as voters in New York did last week — in big numbers.

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Californians’ donations to 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls haven’t paid off

California’s Republican donors have invested heavily in the 2016 presidential race, with little return. The vast majority of the $55 million they have spent boosted candidates who have dropped out, according to a Times analysis of financial disclosure documents.

Now, as the nominating contest hurtles toward the state’s June 7 primary, most are no longer opening their checkbooks but rather observing the intraparty nomination fight from the sidelines, frustrated by the turns the race has taken.

“There won’t be any more money coming from me — none,” said Chris Rufer, who founded Morning Star Co., a tomato processing firm based in Woodland, outside Sacramento.

Rufer, who donated $662,400 to efforts supporting Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s unsuccessful bid, said of the three remaining GOP candidates, “I’m just not all that impressed.”

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