Will John Kasich Drop Out Before Wyoming? The Long Shot Candidate Is Holding Out for a Contested Convention
He may have lost to both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in Wisconsin's primary, but John Kasich might not drop out just yet. Though the Governor of Ohio missed out on scoring any delegates in the Badger State, his loss wasn't big enough to justify giving Trump a clear path to the magic number of 1,237 delegates. With over 153,000 votes, he fell a daunting 21 points behind the real-estate mogul, but winning the primaries is no longer his top priority. For Kasich, a contested convention is the light at the end of the tunnel.
So far, the candidate has only won a primary in his home state of Ohio. Though he's maintained pockets of support among moderate establishment Republicans who feel alienated by the ultra-conservative Cruz and the hyperbolic Trump, he simply doesn't have enough backers to adequately compete for a nomination. Unless, of course, neither Cruz nor Trump win 1,237 delegates at the Republican National Convention. In that case, he stands a small chance of being launched into a nomination by the Republican National Committee (RNC) during a second ballot. In other words, Kasich isn't in it to win it ... at least, not in the traditional way. It sounds crazy, but it's plausible enough to draw quite the reaction out of both Trump and Cruz.
At a rally in Milwaukee on Sunday, Trump revealed that he's not pleased by Kasich's games. In fact, he's threatened, and believes he'd have the nomination in the bag in the Ohio Governor would just drop out already:
All he’s doing is just, he goes from place to place, and loses, and he keeps running ... Now if he wants to go and have his name put in nomination in the convention, he can do that. He doesn’t have to run and take my votes.
Cruz perceived Kasich as a large enough threat that he was willing to launch attack ads against him in Wisconsin. Before a town hall meeting with Fox's Megyn Kelly on Monday, Cruz said that the RNC would be "foolish" to elect Kasich against the will of the GOP voters:
It ain’t going to happen ... If it did, the people would quite rightly revolt.
Trump and Cruz's exasperation reinforced Kasich's determination to continue in the race. On Monday, he was confident enough to hold a rally in New York, which doesn't vote until April 19. Astonishingly, over 3,000 people trekked through the rain to watch Kasich speak in Huntington, where he assured the crowd he wasn't planning on dropping out. As Trump and Cruz suspected, the prospect of a brokered convention is driving his campaign.
I’m not dropping out ... nobody is going to have enough delegates to go to the convention and win on the first ballot.
Kasich is a sort of anomaly in the 2016 race. Though he's relatively unpopular among Republicans, the polls show that, unlike his GOP running mates, he's liberal enough to attract Democratic voters and possibly defeat the Democratic nominee. In fact, he might have a better chance than either Trump or Cruz of handing the White House back over to the conservatives. Now he just has to convince GOP voters to keep his head above water until the convention.
Meanwhile, Trump and Cruz can find one thing that they do agree on: They want Kasich out of the race. He may not have a majority, but he has enough influence to swipe their voters. For being such a traditionally moderate Republican, Kasich certainly isn't sticking to ritual. The man knows how to stir the pot, and it doesn't look as though he's going to stop any time soon.