The last shoe has dropped as far as the Republican primary campaign is concerned. It had been expected Wednesday afternoon that Ohio Governor John Kasich would suspend his campaign, leaving Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee. The move comes a day after one of his only remaining rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, announced that he was suspending his campaign.
Three campaign officials who spoke to The Associated Press said the Ohio governor was planning to announce his decision in a statement from his home state later Wednesday.
The officials spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to disclose Kasich’s decision.
Kay Reynolds, Co-Chairman of the Scioto County Republican Party and herself a delegate to the national convention, said the last word she heard was that Kasich was staying in.
“I received a text last (Tuesday) night at the time of Cruz’s announcement, that he had intended to go through the time that a candidate received the 1,237 votes (delegates),” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said she understands Kasich’s decision.
“I understand why he is doing it and a personally feel he has no choice but to suspend his campaign,” Reynolds said. “I’m deeply saddened that he’s not our nominee, but I totally understand what’s happened.”
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis is a spokesman for the Scioto County Republican Party.
“I think John Kasich is a good man,” Davis said. “I think that he saw the writing on the wall that it was time to get out now. There’s no path to nomination for him or Cruz. With Cruz getting out last (Tuesday) night, I think it became even more apparent that there wasn’t a future at the convention and with this, now the party can begin the process of healing some divides, no doubt, and that’s going to fall on the back of Donald Trump to start that healing process and reach out to people that have been disenfranchised and, quite frankly, hurt through this process and start uniting the party.”
Reynolds says there is one more component to the Republican campaign in Ohio.
“There has been over a million new registered Republicans in the state of Ohio, and it all goes back to the Trump campaign,” Reynolds said. “People want change.”
Kasich’s decision to suspend his campaign comes after he failed to convert a win in his home state primary into momentum in the chaotic GOP campaign.
“I think Mr. Kasich will come back to Ohio now and get back to the work of running the state and the rest of the country will move on,” Davis said.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have weighed in on the events that occurred over the last two days. The Ohio Democratic Party released the following statement from Chairman David Pepper in response to the Kasich announcement.
“Since last March, Governor John Kasich has spent more than 200 days out of state, pursuing his presidential ambitions and ignoring the needs of the people of Ohio. Our state has trailed the national average in job growth for 40 straight months. Our public school system has plummeted from fifth in the nation to 23rd. Eight of our 10 biggest cities are economically distressed, and there are more Ohio kids living in poverty today than there were at the height of the Great Recession back in 2008. It’s time that Ohio had a governor who was actually doing something about all of that, rather than gallivanting across the country.
“In addition, we hope that the Kasich administration will provide a full accounting of the cost to Ohio taxpayers and Kasich’s campaign will reimburse the state for every single penny that his failed campaign cost the taxpayers of Ohio.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.