BEREA, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Gov. John Kasich scored his first win of the presidential nomination contest, grabbing all 66 delegates in the Ohio primary, in what could ultimately stall Donald Trump’s decisive dash to the nomination.
Kasich entered the GOP presidential race as an underdog but surged to prominence after he secured second place in New Hampshire’s primary last month.
Steering clear of the boisterous, often belligerent rhetoric exchanged by his GOP rivals, Kasich has sought to distinguish himself as the candidate with a positive message. He avoided direct criticism of front-runner Trump until recent days, when he expressed concern that the billionaire businessman was encouraging violence at his rallies.
Kasich remains in last place among the GOP contenders. He had been in fourth place, trailing Marco Rubio, who ended his campaign earlier Tuesday after a humiliating loss to Trump in his home state of Florida.
Speaking at his watch party at Baldwin Wallace University, Kasich said he had great political support and thanked his family and volunteers.
“To have people that believe in you and believe you can bring together and strengthen our country, I have to thank the people of the great state of Ohio. I love ya. That’s all I can say, I love ya,” Kasich said.
Taking the stage early at event was Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. He said Kasich is a man who is ready to be President and “tonight is a special night.”
“In all the states that vote from here on, something different is going to happen. The spotlight tonight begins to move to John Kasich,” DeWine said.
Kasich voted earlier Tuesday in Westerville before making last minute campaign stops hoping to win Ohio’s 66 delegates to the Republican National Convention in July. Kasich had said earlier that if he didn’t win Ohio, he would drop out of the race.