Kasich bests Trump in home state Ohio; Clinton tops Sanders
BEREA (AP) — Ohio Republican John Kasich won the winner-take-all primary in his home state on Tuesday, propelling his perpetually lagging presidential campaign to become one of the GOP’s top three White House contenders.
The two-term governor told supporters his job is to represent all Americans without stooping to some of the vitriol that has marked the Republican primary dominated by billionaire businessman Donald Trump thus far.
“I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land,” he said.
Despite concern Democrat Hillary Clinton might have been affected by Democratic voters defecting to support Kasich’s effort against Trump, the former secretary of state defeated rival Bernie Sanders in the state despite the Vermont senator’s spirited last-minute push.
For Kasich, Tuesday’s victory marked his first state win of the campaign, worth 66 delegates — as well as a crucial signal of his durability into the next phase of the contest. His future position was bolstered after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign after losing his home state to Trump on Tuesday.
Kasich pledged to take his campaign all the way to Cleveland — the site of the GOP national convention in July — and to be back in Ohio this fall to defeat Clinton.
Ohio Republican Chairman Matt Borges said Kasich now can take his positive economic record to the rest of the country.
“Ohio is always the center of the political universe,” Borges said in a statement. “Tonight, the Buckeye State sent a message to the rest of the country that John Kasich is the best chance our party has to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.”