Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t have too much of a focus on South Carolina. | Getty
Ohio Gov. John Kasich probably could have used a better phrase for his plan to consolidate establishment voters than “we’re going to keep struggling” in an appearance on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”
Coming off a fifth-place finish in South Carolina and looking ahead to states like Michigan, Vermont and Massachusetts, the GOP presidential candidate said his momentum is building but offered no clear path to the nomination under questioning from host John Dickerson.
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And when asked how he deals with concerns that he’s splitting establishment votes away from Marco Rubio, Kasich strained to defend his viability.
“I finished second in New Hampshire, he finished fifth. I didn’t play in South Carolina and we’re going to go on March 1st to a number of states where we’re going to do well. It’s a matter of continuing on,” Kasich said. “And we’re going to keep struggling to make sure that we can be out there, keep putting the resources out there to be in a position to do well.”
Kasich argued he exceeded expectations last year by getting on the main debate stage, vaulted into the national conversation over the past two weeks and even did better than predicted in South Carolina by snagging late deciders and accumulating 7.6 percent of the vote. He also said donors and political supporters of Jeb Bush are beginning to lean his way after the former Florida governor dropped out of the race following a fourth-place finish in South Carolina.
But pressed on how he continues to gain momentum without a clear winning path in the polls, Kasich plotted a Bernie Sanders-esque strategy of nabbing a handful of delegates in states that have contests in March.
“I don’t have to win these places, I just have to hang in there and continue to gain momentum,” Kasich said. “We’re the engine that can. Everybody ought to just relax on this.”