What a difference a week can make for candidates running this year for the White House. It sure made a big difference for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s second run for the White House. And it wasn’t good.
The 63-year old mid-term governor was flying high in New Hampshire after finishing a very distant second place to Donald John Trump there 11 days ago. But then on Saturday Mr. Sunny Side Up got shot down when the tiny-state rocket ship he climbed on crashed in South Carolina in a very far and distant fifth place.
Gov. Kasich has advanced mostly by others falling by the wayside. Whether it was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker exiting before voting began or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie returning home after finishing so far down in New Hampshire, Kasich survives because others have died.
Bragging about his 60 percent win in the teeny, tiny town of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire, Ohio’s glib governor who has yet to actually finish in first place, promised the same promise he told Ohioans if they elected him to a second term in 2014. Lifting up people is his constant mantra that doesn’t play well when Ohio stats showing he can’t create jobs nearly fastest enough, people, especially children are living in poverty at higher rates during his five years in office and infant mortality remains very high.
When polls closed in the last of the so-called boutique primary states that had a record turnout of voters, Trump thumped his challengers with 33 percent. Marco Rubio landed in second with 23 percent while Ted Cruz followed in third place one point Rubio. Jeb Bush, who brought his mother and former president brother George W. Bush in to campaign for him, came in fourth place with eight percent. John Kasich [7.62%] and Ben Carson [7.23%] finished in next to last and last place, respectively.
Kasich didn’t take listen to “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert this week who reminded the term-limited governor that South Carolinians like fighting. Kasich thought his Mr. Positive campaign strategy, that played well enough to win him editorial endorsements from the Boston Globe and The New York Times, would work in the Palmetto state, but his PR calculation was very wrong as vote totals showed.
Leaving the state before the bad news of his fifth place settled in, Camp Kasich tried to spin his big loss into a win because he’s now the only governor out of eight still in the race. Kasich’s New Hampshire rocket ship clearly couldn’t make it into orbit down south and many wonder if it will anywhere.
“The executive leadership ability of a governor, who knows how to get things done and bring people together is what America needs,” the governor told his followers. What America needs, based on voting now in Iowa and New Hampshire and now South Carolina, is an outsider like Donald Trump, whose persistent dogging of Jeb Bush early on forced Bush to suspend his campaign tonight.
Some truth emerged that Camp Kasich doesn’t want to hear. Even though Kasich got more than “squat,” his strategy going forward requires continuing chaos, according to Washington Post’s premier Beltway pundit Dan Balz wrote. Commenting on Kasich continuing to campaign, Balz surmises that an open convention is just what Gov. Kasich wants since he could play a kingmaker role or emerge as a consensus alternative to Trump. “But first he’ll need to win the Michigan primary on March 8. To survive until then, however, he will have to weather 16 earlier contests, with more than 750 delegates at stake,” Balz notes. “The more he finishes behind the three leaders across a swath of states before Michigan, the more difficult that will become.”
Gov. Kasich used to boast that he’s not running for second place, but that would be the best he can expect if he continues to linger on at least until March 15 when Ohio holds its primary. What John Kasich should worry about is not holding his own state. In October, a credible poll on the Buckeye State undertaken by Quinnipiac Polling showed Donald Trump eats Gov. Kasich’s lunch in his own backyard.
Poll results showed that “23 percent of Ohio Republican pick billionaire Donald Trump and 18 percent want retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. Kasich comes in third with 13 percent.” New polling will show whether Kasich can win on his home field or whether he’ll be embarrassed by the New York City billionaire he said will not be the GOP nominee. Quinnipiac showed Trump wins Ohio over Kasich by ten points.
Kasich outlined his itinerary that includes upcoming stops in Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee. “We are running a 50-state campaign and I need your ongoing support,” he said, asking for more money.
Doing no better than single digits In South Carolina today, it begs the question of why Kasich isn’t bowing out like Jeb Bush did, to further reduce the number voters of candidates voters have to choose from. Marco Rubio squeaked by Ted Cruz, and it remains to be seen if Bush followers break for Rubio who came in third in Iowa and lower in New Hampshire, but remains the candidate smart money may go to as the new, young establishment face of the GOP.