Conservative leaders consider ditching Cruz for Rubio: report
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A secretive coterie of prominent GOP leaders is considering transferring its support from Republican presidential hopeful Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz urges UK to allow British toddler's parents to transfer him for treatment Maxine Waters to Trump: ‘Please resign’ Cruz challenger says ‘no thanks’ to funding from Steyer MORE to his primary rival Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLobbying world Former Florida congressmen mull bipartisan gubernatorial run: report Winners and losers from Jim Bridenstine’s confirmation as NASA administrator MORE, multiple sources familiar with the situation told National Review Online.

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Known as “The Group,” the cabal is led by head of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins and Senate Conservative Fund President Ken Cuccinelli.

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 John TrumpFormer Watergate prosecutor: Trump taking the fifth would be political suicide Comey: I’m ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ by Republican party Comey, Anderson Cooper clash over whether memo release violated FBI rules 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.