It is important to recognize that a candidate can only be in so many places on a given day. As the campaign progresses and more contests come at a more rapid clip, campaigns will narrow their focus on the most important races and the ones where they can garner the most delegates. All that said, that doesn’t sound like a great sign for the Rubio campaign. In fact, it sounds a lot like what the other evidence tells us: that the Rubio campaign is shifting from a plan to win to a plan to hold on as long as possible in the hopes of some dramatic shift in the dynamics of the race. In that context, fighting everywhere makes no sense: better to find a few states where a win seems plausible and focus resources there.
As we’ve discussed, there are very, very few conceivable winning scenarios for Rubio at the moment. Ted Cruz is far closer to Donald Trump in the delegate count. What he needs to hope for is some unicorn-like, dramatic turn of events or a successful party effort to block Trump from securing a majority of delegates. In the latter scenario Rubio needs to remain plausible – basically, by finding a few places he can win – to have any hope of becoming the vehicle for that party counterattack against Trump if it materializes.
As we’ve said, these are all very implausible scenarios at this point. Or perhaps better to say, they are scenarios which assume a November general election defeat but try to manage that defeat in a way that is best for the future of the Republican party. But that’s where we are.
A separate note: these are the times when we’re really reliant on you to spot things in the local news that we’d want to know about: a canceled event, a local endorsement, anything. Our competitive advantage in really all our coverage has been a deeper level of engagement with our readers that allows us to get tips that bigger organizations with more resources and reporters don’t have.
So like they say in the PSAs, if you see something, say something. Or rather, let us know by email. The link is right under the TPM logo.