A secretive coterie of prominent GOP leaders is considering transferring its support from Republican presidential hopeful Ted CruzTed CruzConquering Trump returns to conservative summit The Hill's 12:30 Report Cruz predicts another Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE to his primary rival Marco RubioMarco RubioConquering Trump returns to conservative summit Rubio brushes off demonstrator asking about town halls A guide to the committees: Senate MORE, multiple sources familiar with the situation told National Review Online.
Members voted in December to endorse Cruz, finally reaching a supermajority of 75 percent after five ballots.
But in a conference call on Tuesday, watching the Nevada caucus results trickle in, members reevaluated that endorsement.
The Texas senator’s flat performance in Saturday’s South Carolina primary — finishing third and losing the evangelical vote to front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpLaw professors file misconduct complaint against Conway: report State Dept. memo — on dangers of leaks — leaks to media Trump: FBI ‘totally unable’ to stop leaks MORE — has caused members to question whether he still has a viable path to the nomination.
Charges of dishonesty leveled against Cruz by Trump and Rubio have stuck, Cruz supporters lamented, upending his message as the trusted conservative in the race.
Rubio backers in The Group have not aired their doubts about Cruz publicly, but they are laying the groundwork for a defection from Cruz if he fails to gain traction in the March 1 primaries.
A source said members will take a “pragmatic charge to stop Trump” by switching to Rubio if Cruz flops on Super Tuesday, which Cruz has called his “firewall” in the race.
Perkins in a tweet on Wednesday denied that the call took place and reiterated his support for Cruz.