GOP lawmaker calls on Cruz and Rubio to create joint ticket
© Greg Nash

Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents Cook Political Report shifts seven House races toward Dems MORE (R-Ariz.) offered a strategy on Wednesday for the GOP to unseat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFlynn to campaign for Montana GOP Senate candidate Trump considering pardon for boxing legend after call from Sylvester Stallone Decline in EPA enforcement won't keep climate bill from coming MORE as its front-runner: Merge Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioStudents gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules MORE into one ticket.

Franks, who had endorsed Mike Huckabee for the Republican presidential nomination until the former Arkansas governor dropped out this month, announced he was switching his allegiance to both Rubio and Cruz.

"Senators Cruz and Rubio both have proven full spectrum conservative records and I call upon them to join forces and establish a joint ticket in pursuit of the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States and I whole heartedly endorse them both to that end," Franks said in a statement.

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However, Franks did not offer any suggestion on who should be the presidential nominee and who should run for vice president.

Franks cited concerns with Trump’s “inconsistencies and shifts” on issues such as abortion and warned Trump would be damaging for the party’s prospects in November. 

"Rivalry, disunity, and baseless hatred in our ranks, have now put conservatives in danger of splintering our voice and nominating the weakest General Election candidate in the Republican field with the strongest probability of allowing Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGeorge HW Bush wears 'book socks' to Barbara Bush's funeral to honor her passion for literacy Obamas, Clintons to attend funeral of Barbara Bush Hillary Clinton to fundraise in DC for public charter high school MORE to become President,” he said.

As long as Rubio and Cruz continue to run against each other, Franks argued, they'd simply assist Trump's path to victory.

"Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz can unite and win together or remain apart and each fail separately," Franks said. "For the sake of our country, the conservative cause, and future generations, I adjure both Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio to unite."

Congressional endorsements have been flowing to Rubio since former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the race after a weak showing in South Carolina's primary on Saturday. Cruz has 23 endorsements to date, a number that doesn't include any fellow senators.

Trump, meanwhile, won his first endorsements from GOP lawmakers on Wednesday from Reps. Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (Calif.). After winning three out of four contests so far by double-digit margins and showing leads in most states in next week's Super Tuesday primaries, Trump has a significant lead in delegates to secure the nomination.

But Franks insisted that there's still a way to prevent Trump from becoming the GOP's standard-bearer in November.

"We don’t have a political inevitability. We have a mathematical challenge and mathematics are some of the most difficult laws to repeal. So one shouldn’t try. One should change the equation," Franks told The Hill off the House floor.