Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been accused by the campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida of “spreading false rumors and lies” that he is dropping out of the race.
Following a similar tactic used against Ben Carson who dropped out of the Republican race last week, Cruz, who is now considered the main rival to GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, was accused of using “dirty tricks” to get votes in the Hawaii primary away from Rubio.
According to the New York Times, emails that appeared to have come from the Cruz campaign were sent to Rubio supporters in Hawaii promoting a CNN report saying some of Rubio’s advisers see no path for him to win the Republican presidential nomination and suggested he could drop out of the race before the March 15 primary in Florida. Rubio’s campaign has denied the report and complained that Cruz was playing dirty politics.
“Senator Cruz is up to his dirty tricks again spreading false rumors and lies,” Joe Pounder, a spokesman for Rubio told the Times. Cruz was forced to apologize to Carson after the Iowa caucuses when he was accused of a similar charge. This time, however, the Cruz campaign said they had nothing to do with the Rubio email.
Cruz campaign volunteers in Hawaii said the campaign sent the email without permission and they have since been instructed by the campaign’s lawyers to stop using its logo and remove any similar posts from social media accounts, notes the times. “The at-issue email and social media posting was not sanctioned by the Cruz for President campaign,” Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Cruz said. “The campaign became aware of the email this morning by press accounts, and upon investigation learned that some volunteers in Hawaii were involved in the posting.”
Last month, after accusations of using “dirty tricks” on several occasions, Cruz fired spokesperson Rick Tyler, who shared a false story on social media claiming that Rubio had dissed the Bible.
Rubio won zero delegates from four Republican primaries held in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi on Tuesday. In Hawaii, Cruz was awarded six of the 19 delegates for his second place finish behind Trump.