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Southerners Cruz, Rubio jockey for position after Super Tuesday

Both senators vie to be final alternative to Donald Trump
♦By Rich Shumate, editor

southern-states-lg(CFP) — The two Southerners left in the Republican presidential race may have failed to stop Donald Trump’s bandwagon in the Super Tuesday primaries, but both U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are insisting that the results make them the most viable alternative to the New York billionaire.

Eleven states held contests to pick Republican delegates on March 1. Trump won seven. Cruz won Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska and came in second in four other states. Rubio won Minnesota and came in second in two.

Despite those mixed results, both Cruz and Rubio made it clear that they are staying in the race. And while Rubio didn’t talk about Cruz on election night, Cruz made a direct appeal for Rubio and the other candidates to drop out to give him a clear shot at Trump.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz

“So long as the field is divided, the nomination of Donald Trump becomes more likely, and that would be a disaster,” Cruz told supporters in Stafford, Texas, near Houston.

Addressing the other candidates, he said, “I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together, uniting.”

“That is the only way to beat Donald Trump. Head-to-head, our campaign beats Donald Trump resoundingly.”

But down in Miami, a defiant Rubio denounced Trump as a “con artist” and made it clear he doesn’t plan to leave the race.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

“No matter how long it takes, no matter how many states it takes, no matter how many weeks and months it takes, I will campaign as long as it takes, and wherever it takes, to ensure that I am the next president of the United States,” Rubio said.

Rubio insisted that his stepped-up campaign of attacks against Trump has begun eroding Trump’s poll numbers, and he said he was looking forward to the March 15 primary in his home state of Florida.

“Two weeks from tonight, right here in Florida, we are going to send a message loud and clear,” he said.

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