Rubio builds momentum, Cruz campaign shows signs of struggle

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ELKO, Nevada (AP) — Some California Republicans answered calls to travel to Nevada for Tuesday's GOP caucuses, while others remain wary and wondering about who will emerge as the GOP nominee.

Donald Trump is leading in polls and expected to win the Silver State's 10 delegates. The question of whether he can go the distance is now more pressing as time runs out for other candidates to take over the lead and Bay Area voters and donors try to decide who to back.

"There's reshuffling going on right now to see where to throw their support behind and I think a couple of donors are waiting until after Super Tuesday to see where they want to be," said Jason Clark, the Vice-Chair of the San Francisco GOP.

The shakeup of the GOP field leaves five candidates still standing Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson.

San Francisco Republicans Hillary Hagenbuch had been a supporter and fundraiser for Jeb Bush, but is now watching Nevada and trying to decide what to do.

"For me it's not a popularity contest, It's not about poling numbers, it's who I believe in and who I support," said Hagenbuch, who says right now she's undecided among the remaining candidates.

It appears to be shaping into a three-way race with Donald Trump still in the lead in national polls.

Cruz, who is competing with trump for Evangelical voters is battling for second place. His campaign was slightly shaken by Cruz's announcement he was firing his communications manager over a tweet that erroneously questioned Marco Rubio's faith.

"This is a grave error of judgement," Cruz said.

Rubio, also battling for second place, repeated his attacks on Cruz and suggested the Cruz campaign had no accountability.
Trump joined in with a tweet accusing Cruz of "more dirty tricks."

John Kasich meantime is betting on the midwest in March, ignoring Nevada. Ben Carson said late last week he was not going to pull out.

Henry Brady, Dean of UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy says time could be running out for the GOP to coalesce around a candidate other than Trump, with too many people in the race dividing the non-Trump vote.

"The point at which it could be really too late is March 15th and beyond because at March 15th almost all of the primaries on the Republican side become winner take all," said Brady.

The Republican nominee will need 1,237 delegates to win the nomination.
Although it's early, Trump already has 67 delegates. compared to Cruz's 11 and Rubio's 10.

Brady and others say Trump likely will need to start getting specific about his policies.

"Whenever he's been asked anything about policy proposals he's been notably not very knowledgeable," said Brady.

"At the end of the day voters want something more than just a face, they want someone who has some policies and some change they want to effect in this country," said Clark.

Super Tuesday is March 1st and one Trump campaign official has said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been advising Trump.