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Kasich Drops Out of the Presidential Race


  Ohio Gov. John Kasich will suspend his presidential campaign at a 5 p.m. statement in Ohio, two Kasich campaign sources tell NPR.

Kasich canceled a planned news conference at Dulles Airport in Virginia, instead remaining behind in Ohio.

The news comes a day after Kasich again finished last in another primary, this one in Indiana, a state that borders Ohio. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the race Tuesday night. Kasich getting out clears the way for Donald Trump, the last man standing for the GOP nomination.

Kasich put a lot of chips on winning the first primary state New Hampshire — holding more than 100 town hall meetings in the Granite State — and unlike other candidates, was blunt about that fact.

"If I get snuffed out, I go home — end of story," Kasich told New Hampshire voters late last month.

But he didn't leave. Instead, seeing Trump lead the race, he was banking on a belief that a majority of Republican delegates to the national convention would never back Trump.

The initial laser-like focus on New Hampshire was straight out of the moderate, establishment candidate playbook that has sometimes worked (see John McCain in 2008) but often failed (see Jon Huntsman four years later). Kasich underplayed the more conservative aspects of his record, like an attempt to end collective bargaining for public employees, and instead focused on themes like pragmatism and governance.

The approach appeared to be working: Kasich steadily crept up the New Hampshire polls and won the endorsements of big newspapers like The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

But with two other candidates occupying the same pragmatic, gubernatorial lane in the race, observers had predicted for months that of Kasich, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, only one could emerge from New Hampshire and continue his campaign.

Instead, it was Trump who emerged victorious in New Hampshire and is now on his way to being the Republican standard bearer in the fall.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.
Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politics and is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.