Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Cruz campaign officials have raised questions about the 622 signatures submitted by the Kasich campaign. A minimum of 500 valid signatures is required for a presidential candidate to qualify for the Montana ballot.
The Cruz campaign asserts Kasich's petition contains signatures with invalid notaries, improper dates, mismatched phone numbers and illegible names, among other potential discrepancies.
"Because John Kasich's campaign filed only 622 signatures, and the minimum number of signatures required under Montana law is 500, there is a reasonable probability that material defects with his petitions reduce the number of valid signatures below the required minimum," the campaign said, "and John Kasich is therefore not eligible for placement on the ballot."
Please forgive me for a chuckle at the irony of a campaign claiming someone is not eligible to be on the ballot when their candidate is not eligible for the White House. However, so far there has not been a legal challenge put forth by the Cruz campaign on the matter in Montana.
"Because John Kasich's campaign filed only 622 signatures, and the minimum number of signatures required under Montana law is 500, there is a reasonable probability that material defects with his petitions reduce the number of valid signatures below the required minimum," the Cruz campaign said in an email obtained by the Associated Press, "and John Kasich is therefore not eligible for placement on the ballot."
However, the Kasich campaign shot back via co-chairman of Kasich's Montana operation, Greg Frank, who said, "The validity and the integrity of the signatures I can personally attest to. I personally collected the majority of them, and I personally submitted them to the county elections office."
While there are some that claim Cruz is afraid of the competition, I highly doubt that when it comes to Kasich. The guy knows he can't win, but continues to stay in the race. Why? My guess is that since he is establishment, the establishment is using him to try and stymie both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from getting enough delegates to go into the convention with those necessary to achieve the nomination. Frankly, Kasich has been an embarrassment for some time.
Furthermore, Cruz has claimed all along that if this were a two man race between Donald Trump and him, that he would win easily. So, I think Cruz has that in mind in pushing these challenges.
Montana does not offer many delegates to either of these men. The winner of the state receives all 27 delegates. That's a pretty small number, but when you are pushing to get to 1,237, you want to get as many as you can.
As of today, the delegate numbers look like this heading into the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, which has 42 delegates up for grabs.
- Donald Trump – 736
- Ted Cruz – 463
- Kasich - 143