The first hint that reality had finally caught up with Ohio Governor John Kasich was an announcement that he had canceled his campaign appearances today. Moments afterward came news that Kasich planned an announcement for 5 ET today:
Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich canceled a planned Wednesday morning news conference outside Washington D.C., and now plans to address the media in Ohio later Wednesday afternoon.
Stewart Young, a campaign volunteer, told a group of reporters that Kasich would not attend the press conference in Dulles, Va. as scheduled and instead will make “an announcement” at 5 p.m.
Kasich had been scheduled to fundraise in the Washington area on Wednesday and meet with his national security staff in Washington on Thursday.
That made it pretty clear what was coming, and it didn’t take long to leak:
NBC's @mitchellreports that Gov. Kasich will announce that he is suspending his campaign today. Donald Trump will be the presumptive nominee
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) May 4, 2016
The irony of this timing is that it comes after the suspension of two campaigns with more delegates. Marco Rubio dropped out in mid-March, and nearly two months later, Kasich still trails him in the delegate count. Ted Cruz dropped out nearly 24 hours earlier than Kasich’s planned announcement despite being in second place. Kasich wound up in fourth place overall, and had no place to go.
Now that he’s out, does Kasich rise to the top of the veepstakes? Earlier today, Trump gave a hint of the direction in which he might turn for a running mate:
Trump said his pick for vice president — unlike the billionaire real estate mogul himself, who is political novice — will be someone well-versed in Washington politics.
“It will probably be a person with political experience,” Trump said in an interview with television broadcaster ABC the morning after his chief remaining rival in the race, Texas senator Ted Cruz, abandoned his White House bid.
“I would like to have somebody that could truly be good with respect to dealing with the Senate, dealing with Congress, getting legislation passed.”
Well-versed in Washington politics? Check. Getting solutions through a legislature? Check, although sometimes to the dismay of conservatives. Kasich also holds the promise of winning Ohio, without which Republicans can kiss any hopes for the White House good-bye.
Plus, Kasich has at least one other advantage, which is that he hasn’t attacked Trump personally — at least not since last summer. Trump’s mostly left him alone too, only tagging with the “One for 34” nickname to poke fun at Kasich’s lack of traction in the primary field. It would create fewer questions that adding Cruz or Rubio to the ticket would, plus it might make the GOP “establishment” feel a bit more comfortable with the ticket.
We’ll see, but perhaps not soon. Team Trump might want to hold off on that media blitz until sometime in June, when they can use the pick to disrupt the ad attacks from Hillary Clinton’s PACs.