For a candidate who has never lost an election over his nearly four decades as a career performance politician, losing three in a row in as many weeks—as John Kasich has done now in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina—is a new experience for the quirky, combative governor, who may have more downside than upside headed his way.

Landing in 8th place in Iowa, 2nd place in New Hampshire and 5th place in South Carolina, Gov. Kasich knows the only two states he can possible finish first in is Michigan or Ohio. By the time those primaries arrive, many more will have been decided, and no one is predicting the 63-year old term-limited state leader surging into first place anytime soon.

Kasich essentially admitted that political reality when he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that his goal is gathering delegates Republican races in Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Mississippi, Michigan and Illinois.

“I don’t have to win in these places, I just have to hang in there and continue to gather momentum,” Kasich said.

What little he had to crow about was captured in his spin that he’s now the only governor left in the GOP field, now that former Florida governor Jeb Bush has exited following his 4th place finish—which was ahead of Kasich—in South Carolina Saturday. Voters showed they’re paying attention with a record turnout.

With a reduced field from the original 17 GOP candidates who started out last summer, the race for money, especially the race to convince Bush backers to find a new candidate to fund is intense. Gov. Kasich thinks he can get some of that loot to keep him afloat as he awaits his home state primary on March 15. But a report by McClatchy Washington Bureau hints that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who won second place of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by just 1,000 votes, could be who donors pick to carry the GOP establishment lane ball forward to take on Donald Trump. Trump finished in a close second to Cruz in Iowa and then clobbered the field in both New Hampshire and South Carolina with big double-digits wins.

“My phone was blowing up last night and this morning with Jeb Bush supporters coming over,” said Nick Iarossi, a fundraiser for Rubio, The LA Times reported. “All of the Jeb supporters (have) Marco as their second choice.”

Former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson came in last place in South Carolina, not far behind John Kasich, but he’s vowing to stay in the race too. Reports say Carson enjoys a following from conservative religious voters in the gaggle of Southern states that will hold primaries on March 3, Super Tuesday.

Worse news for Gov. Kasich came in an AP report that Donald Trump holds leads in eight upcoming primary states. Time is not on Kasich’s side, as it was for New Hampshire when he had months on end to introduce himself there. Kasich’s goal may be to win delegates, but Trump appears in good shape to gather the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus deliberately created a process designed to produce a nominee quickly. By March 15, about 60 percent of Republican delegates will have been chosen, reports note.

Even in his home state of Ohio, Kasich losing to Trump, as a Quinnipiac poll from last fall showed was the case then, would be very embarrassing, indeed.

Meanwhile, in separate but sad related news, for long-in-the-tooth politicos like John Kasich, who matured politically under former President Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of Republicans, and who constantly refer to him in name and action, the Hollywood actor turned elected official doesn’t have the appeal he once had.

Texas Tech University’s nonpartisan political organization PoliTech and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit organization that promotes civic education at America’s colleges and universities, conducted the survey at George Mason University, located in Fairfax, Virginia.

The survey showed that students had trouble identifying photographs of former President Ronald Reagan and Vice President Joseph Biden but easily identified a photo of reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

As embarrassing is the news that nearly 10 percent of college graduates believe popular TV star Judith Sheindlin, aka “Judge Judy,” serves on the Supreme Court of the United States. The report also found that 47 percent of graduates also couldn’t identify the term lengths for members of Congress, and nearly 40 percent didn’t know that Congress has the power to declare war.

 

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