Former Virginia congressman Tom Davis shot down a rumor that Ohio Gov. John Kasich had made a secret deal with GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump not to attack the New York real estate mogul in exchange for becoming his pick for vice president.
"Somebody forgot to tell Chris Christie," about any deal, Davis told AMI Newswire, referring to the New Jersey governor's endorsement of Trump Friday at a campaign rally in Forth Worth, Texas.
In a press release announcing the endorsement, Christie said: “Our system is broken and it won’t be fixed from the inside. I am proud to offer my endorsement of his candidacy for President.”
It comes on the same day the Trump campaign announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas governor and two-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, had signed on as a senior adviser.
The rumor about Kasich had surfaced on the widely read Virginia political website Bearing Drift, which floated a possible "Trump/Kasich ’16 alliance heading into Cleveland." The author of the post, senior Republican strategist Shaun Kenney, had no comment.
Davis, who serves as chairman of the Kasich campaign effort in Virginia, said the move by Christie reflects what he's been hearing from Republican members of Congress.
"They don't necessarily like Trump," Davis said, "but they look at the results and they look at the alternative on the Democratic side. They can accept [Trump] as the nominee, because Hillary [Clinton] is totally unacceptable."
Davis brushed aside the idea that Kasich should drop out of the race and give candidates such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a clearer shot at taking down Trump.
"That's what Rubio's people want," he said. "But what they should be doing instead is looking at the map and picking which states they are going to fight and win. That's how they can stop Trump. The winner take all states -- like Ohio, like Florida, that's where people should be making their stands.
"Kasich is going to do well in Ohio," Davis said. "And if he does, he can carry on to Pennsylvania, where he's from, and New Jersey. The idea is to pile up delegates and deny Trump the numbers he needs to win.
"There are no lanes for candidates in this election," he added. "A smaller field helps Trump. He does worse in a bigger field. And because the Super Tuesday states have proportional voting," meaning that delegates are awarded to candidates who reach a minimum vote threshold in each state, "that denies Trump the numbers he needs.
"Kasich is going to do better in Virginia, and in northern Virginia, than a lot of people expect," Davis said.
He observed that the entire political landscape would be much different had Bernie Sanders not influenced Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. "If she hadn't moved to the left in the race, she would be in a far better position nationally. But that, combined with the email problems, and her high negatives has made her unacceptable to many people. Even somebody like Trump is better than her at this point."
Davis did say that if the choices in the November general election are either Trump or Clinton, "there could be an opportunity for third or fourth parties to really come forward.
"But in our system," he added, "people usually settle on one of the two major candidates."