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Government & Politics
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Kasich Drops Out of the Presidential Race

JOHN KASICH
KAREN KASLER
/
OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

  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.