By Madeline Merrill
As of April 11, 2016, presidential candidate John Kasich has yet to win any state nomination besides that of his home state--Ohio.
Jonathan Martin of the New York Times writes of Governor Kasich, “He received fewer votes in one state than a candidate who was no longer in the race. He has not added a single [state] delegate since March 15. And outside of his home state….he has been the top vote-getter in just four counties.” Many believe it has long been time since Governor John Kasich should have cut his losses and resigned from the presidential debates.
However, the upcoming slew of Northeastern states participating in the Republican primaries leave many Republican Kasich supporters optimistic regarding his stance in the race for Washington. Senator Marco Rubio is now officially out of the race, Governor Jeb Bush has long left the fight, and although Mr. Trump unexpectedly carries the politically-leaning right side of our nation, Kasich’s team believe his pragmatic, centrist policies will attract Northeastern residents who favor Conservative candidates.
The state of New York holds its primary Republic elections cycle today, with Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware not far behind. Many fear that, should Kasich not see desired results in the Northeastern region, his campaign trail will not be much longer.
Kasich is not expected to win in any state, but can still pick up some delegates and some momentum. A recent Quinnipiac Poll has Governor Kasich in a tight race for second place in New York. This puts Governor Kasich only 30 points behind Mr. Trump. There is limited polling in the other Northeastern states, but Mr. Trump holds leads in every state surveyed. Yet, Governor Kasich has repeatedly vowed to stay in the race until the national convention in Cleveland.
In this march to Washington, convention delegates are key to securing a party nomination. Polls suggest that none of the front-runner candidates have the delegate support base to win the Republican endorsement with a majority of delegates. This uncertainty plays to Governor Kasich’s favor.
Governor Kasich’s strategy is to persuade as many delegates to his side, if there is a contested convention. As Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, points out, “When the Super Bowl goes into overtime, does it matter what happened in the first quarter?” As the country’s election season moves ever closer to the November final vote, John Kasich’s position on the Republican ballot remains unclear, if not unpredictable.
Madeline Merrill is a 2017 MPP candidate at the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She serves as a Staff Writer for the Third Rail blog.