When Gov. John Kasich’s advisers downplayed the idea that the term-limited CEO governor wants a brokered GOP convention to do what he couldn’t do in real primary contests, long-time Kasich watchers knew the opposite was true.

Now that Kasich’s chances to win the nomination outright by finishing first in primary races is slim to none, Camp Kasich knows the only card they have left to play is to somehow, some way pull off a coupe at a brokered convention in Cleveland in July. And some backroom deals are what John Kasich and friends are hoping for, as one provocative GOP strategist as much as said is expected to happen in Cleveland, later this summer, Roger Stones says that’s when bank-rolled, establishment party insiders will rewrite the convention rules to keep Trump from being nominated. Stone, who once tweeted he fired John Kasich from a Reagan campaign because the young Kasich was selling weed to campaign workers, lays it all out, predicting GOP dirty tricks squads are gaming out how to heist the nomination from Trump.

Ohio’s salesman governor has yet to win a primary as he holds out for wins in Michigan on March 8 and Ohio a week later on the 15th to show voters love him after all.

John Kasich should exit the race as seven other governors before have already done, but he knows that voters will settle for him if he’s the last establishment Republican left standing, after Donald Trump rolls up more wins and collects more convention delegates.

The need for brokered convention for Kasich to become the nominee, as the confident quack predicts he will, cropped up in a New York Times story this weekend about Republican efforts to stop Donald Trump. John Weaver, Gov. Kasich’s senior strategist, said “the campaign isn’t floating the idea,” according to the AP. Weaver said Kasich plans to take Trump after March 15, when he expects the governor to win Ohio, and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to lose his home state of Florida. Trump leads Rubio in Florida and Kasich in Ohio, so Weaver’s confidence is forced as polls show Trump is drawing more voters out to vote for him instead of old establishment-lane resumes like Kasich’s. If Trump sweeps the Super Tuesday states this week, Kasich’s hoped for win in his home state of Ohio could bust him. Camp Kasich knows that everyone else knows he’s facing an uphill battle for convention delegates.

Asked whether his positive message has yet to translate into significant support from voters, Kasich says it’s because he’s still relatively unknown to voters. That’s a common and convenient excuse used by the governor and his team of handlers, including Weaver, for why voters aren’t flocking to him.

Kasich refuses to admit he’s a non-factor in the race, but others not as reticent to recognize reality say he should bow out after very disappointing performances in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina. Reports are that Mitt Romney asked Kasich to get out of the race, but Kasich, who ran in 2000 for the White House and who was lukewarm to Romney’s candidacy in 2012, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he and Romney have exchanged emails but “nobody’s asked me to drop out.”

The New York Times reported that Romney had urged Kasich to quit and let the Republican party coalesce around a candidate other than front runner, Donald Trump. Kasich’s game plan all along has been to stay in the race and hope those in front of him stumble so he can advance. In spite of polling low nationally and in all states, John Kasich says he intends to win the Ohio primary March 15. If he predicts a victory then loses to Trump, he says for him “it’s ballgame over.”

Political reporters say that Gov. Kasich is just hoping to survive Super Tuesday by collecting a handful of delegates in states such as Massachusetts and Virginia in order to warrant staying in the race until Ohio votes on March 15. Of the dozen states voting on Tuesday, Kasich has campaigned in only five: Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont, Tennessee and Georgia. Kasich wants to post a home-state win, and hopes Rubio loses his home state of Florida on the same day. Kasich’s flimsy confidence is reflected in what a campaign spokes said: “Ohio is what we think we will win.”

Ohio might be worse off if Kasich returns to continue his elected job as governor, but if ending Kasich’s second run for the White House means Ohio taxpayers won’t have have to pony up more money to protect him, his family and others closely associated with his low-flying campaign, that will be worth the trade off. That thinking argues for Ohioans voting for Donald Trump on March 15.

In this year’s race for president, John Kasich would bristle big time if he was compared to Ed FitzGerald, his Democratic challenger in 2014. Prominent among FitzGerald’s shortcoming two years ago was the fact that few voters outside northeastern counties knew who he was. Kasich clobbered the former FBI agent turned politician 2-1 in a low-turnout election then, but is now suffering from FitzGerald syndrome on a national scale.