Standing in a high school gymnasium in his suburban Columbus hometown hours before the polls opened on Monday, Governor John Kasich asked his fellow Ohioans to vote for him “so I can continue to run for president of the United States.” They did.
Kasich defeated Republican front-runner Donald Trump in Ohio on Tuesday, hurting the billionaire’s ability to win enough delegates for the party’s nomination and allowing the governor to stay in a race that he now thinks will be reset in his favor.
“We are going go all the way to Cleveland and secure the Republican nomination,” Kasich said during a victory event on Tuesday night in Berea in suburban Cleveland, where the Republican Party will meet in about four months to select its nominee.
Kasich is making the case that his Ohio victory, especially combined with Florida Senator [score]Marco Rubio[/score] quitting the race after losing his home state to Trump on Tuesday, will be a springboard for performing well in upcoming state contests and collecting enough delegates to compete for the nomination at a contested convention.
While it’s an accomplishment for Kasich to outlast the other eight governors who ran, his challenge will be showing that he can win more than just his home state after failing to be competitive in most previous contests that Trump has dominated, said Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.
“There’s no ‘re-setting’ of the race,” Madden said. “It will be tough to go against the momentum that has built up.”
Kasich’s theory of the nomination fight going forward is that after “laboring in obscurity,” he’ll now get the attention, support and funding he needs. With Rubio out of the race, Kasich hopes to emerge as the clear alternative for party voters and donors who don’t want to nominate Trump or Texas Senator [score]Ted Cruz[/score]…