John Kasich Wins Ohio GOP Primary

Governor John Kasich won the Republican primary in Ohio tonight, proving to many in the Republican party and the media that his campaign isn’t quite over yet – it’s just getting started. Kasich’s big win in Ohio was by a narrow margin, likely around 10 percent when the votes were tallied, beating the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who won big in Florida tonight.

Governor Kasich won his home state of Ohio, reports the Columbia Dispatch, largely due to the home-field advantage he enjoys in the state where he’s well-liked among Republicans, swing-voters, and even Democrats. Kasich’s clean campaign and hopeful message has been at odds with the otherwise bitter infighting among the Republican primary candidates.

“We’re all very, very happy, we’ve run an honest campaign, and we’re so appreciative of the people of Ohio,” John Kasich told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer just after the Ohio win was announced.

CNN analysts speculate that Kasich’s win in Ohio might change the landscape of the Republican race, as Rubio drops out and Trump continues to lead, Kasich is starting to catch up to Ted Cruz. Kasich’s candidacy has been something of a surprise; when he entered the race he trailed all the other big name candidates on the stage – he’s the only survivor of the notorious “undercard” debates.

“There’s over a thousand delegates to be selected, we’re heading across this country, we’re going to go out to Colorado, and California, look I think we’ll be very competitive,” Kasich said to CNN tonight.

Kasich did address, speaking with CNN, that his campaign has some serious hurdles ahead of it – the race is far from over, but he’s got a lot of work ahead of him. Cruz, Trump, and formerly Rubio, all had massive campaign war chests, financed by big backers and huge numbers of voters within the Republican party. Kasich, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly as much as money to spend on a long protracted campaign, certainly not enough to match the other campaigns as he pushes forward toward a contested convention.

The Kasich campaign mirrors, in many ways, the Sanders campaign in that they’re both seen as outsiders and alternatives to the otherwise mainstream candidacies of Trump/Cruz on the Republican side, or Clinton on the Democratic side. Kasich is a more hopeful candidate than Trump, or even Cruz, and he’s got a lot of friends in the Republican party – he doesn’t ruffle feathers the way that Ted Cruz does and he doesn’t inflame his supporters and inspire protests the way that Trump does.

The Kasich campaign hasn’t quite gotten the media attention that the Trump and Cruz campaigns have, in part because he’s been seen as something of a long shot candidate – not a household name, and not as controversial or outrageous as other candidates. Still, as many Republican voters are looking for a Trump alternative – particularly those among the #StopTrump camp – John Kasich is looking more and more like a viable alternative.

Slate reports that John Kasich may be the only candidate that can save the Republican party from itself. In an opinion-editorial published yesterday, writer Jim Newell addressed the Kasich campaign’s unorthodox plan: a contested convention. Kasich is an establishment candidate, and now he’s the only one left, and after this win in Ohio, he’s going to hit a number of more moderate Republican states in hopes of stirring up enough supporters to build a solid base of support going into the Republican convention, which is – very likely – his only chance to win the nomination.

“Could you think of anything cooler than a [contested] convention?” Kasich said earlier this month, hinting at his plans that are – after tonight’s win – fully in motion.

[Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images]