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Top Kasich aide: Romney tried to help broker backchannel with Cruz campaign

Story highlights

  • John Kasich's campaign wants to join forces with Ted Cruz's
  • The goal would be denying delegates to Donald Trump in the GOP nomination fight

(CNN)In a storyline that could be ripped from a House of Cards script, John Kasich's campaign is looking to coordinate behind the scenes with Ted Cruz's in a mutual effort to deny Donald Trump enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. They even tried to get 2012 nominee Mitt Romney to help broker it.

The only problem for team Kasich is that Team Cruz is not interested.
Kasich adviser John Weaver told CNN that Romney urged Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe to contact the Kasich campaign, but Roe has yet to do so.
    Roe told CNN he did speak with Romney, but declined to disclose details of their private conversation. A Romney spokeswoman also declined to comment on discussions he has had with the campaigns.
    What Roe did tell CNN was that the Cruz campaign has no desire to work with Kasich because they do not believe there is any advantage in it to the Texas senator.
    Cruz officials insist the Ohio governor is a spoiler -- plain and simple -- because they say he does not take votes from Trump, only Cruz.
    Weaver, Kasich's top aide, told CNN he disagrees, and that there are states where it makes sense for them to coordinate -- like the big delegate prize of California, which is very diverse.
    Weaver said both campaigns could save a lot of time and money dividing the state into areas each is most likely to do well -- all in the name of keeping Trump from getting delegates.
    In the near term, ahead of the April 5 Wisconsin primary, the Kasich campaign shifted resources to the western part of the state where Trump is more likely than Cruz to perform well. In this case Weaver insisted it wasn't intended to help Cruz, but if it does, he says that's fine.
    Since Cruz won't play ball, Weaver said Kasich's team just hopes Cruz's campaign "understands what we are doing and we hope they are making corresponding moves."
    The hope in Kasich world is that Cruz pulls back in some of the upcoming primaries in the Northeast, like New York and New Jersey, where they hope the Ohio governor has a chance of doing well.
    But there seems to be little chance of that.
    Another GOP operative who was also enlisted as a go-between to broker an alliance tells CNN the Cruz campaign had no desire to engage.