- The Washington Times - Monday, February 22, 2016

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday he sees the GOP presidential race shaping up to be a two-man contest between front-runner Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, giving Mr. Trump a better than 50-50 shot of ultimately securing the nomination.

“I mean, I personally believe it’s down to a two-person race,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The strategy — I thought [Ted] Cruz probably had the best ability of his mapping out, but not winning in South Carolina, that’s very difficult now for him. The bigger advantage is to Trump. He’s got the momentum. I think there’s more [than] a 50 percent chance he’s the nominee.”

“I see it more as Trump-Rubio,” he said. “Because I think Cruz’s whole strategy of winning — he didn’t plan on Trump. And when you look at going through the evangelical vote and others, he just lost that.”

Mr. Trump scored a comfortable win over Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz in the South Carolina GOP primary on Saturday, and he leads in polling on Nevada, which holds its caucuses on Tuesday. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the race after finishing fourth in South Carolina.

Mr. McCarthy also said he thinks Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished fifth in South Carolina, would be an “excellent” president. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished in sixth place on Saturday.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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