Ted Cruz urged John Kasich to drop out of the Republican presidential campaign late Tuesday, saying the race was essentially a “head-to-head” battle between himself and Donald Trump.
Trump won four of the five states voting in Tuesday’s spate of primaries but was denied a decisive victory in Ohio by home-state governor John Kasich.
Cruz didn’t win any states outright on Tuesday — but came in second in Illinois and North Carolina’s close races.
“I think tonight was a good night,” Cruz told NBC News after his primary night speech. “I think tonight we move much closer to a head-to-head matchup.”
He told NBC News it was “mathematically impossible” for Kasich to beat Trump in winning the GOP and suggested the Ohio governor follow Marco Rubio in bowing out of the “two-man” race.
“The longer Kasich stays in the race, the more it benefits Trump,” Cruz said. “Unlike Kasich, our campaign number one has beaten Donald Trump over and over and over again nine different times.”
Cruz added that he was “the only candidate that has a positive economic vision… who actually knows how to fix the problems, as compared to just yelling and cursing about the problems we have.”
When asked if he’d consider teaming up with Kasich to take on Trump, the Texas senator didn’t rule out the possibility and said there’d “absolutely be a place” for Kasich or Rubio in any future administration.
A Trump nomination would be “so disastrous” for the U.S., Cruz said, adding that voters frustrated with corruption should not vote for the billionaire because Trump was “enmeshed in corruption for four decades, supporting liberal democratic politicians.”
Cruz praised defeated rival Rubio as “immensely talented” and said the Florida senator ran a “terrific” campaign.
“It was a positive, it was an optimistic campaign, it was an ideas based campaign. It inspired millions,” he said. “We are seeing supporters of Marco Rubio coming to our campaign … we welcome them with open arms.”
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.