John Kasich Leaves Race Following Indiana Loss

Kasich, 63, who launched his campaign last summer, has been under pressure to drop out

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the last of Donald Trump's rivals for the Republican nomination, suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday.

"The Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone, and as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life," Kasich said in Columbus.

Kasich, 63, launched his campaign last summer, the 16th Republican to join the field. The Ohio governor has been under pressure to drop out, as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did on Tuesday, following Donald Trump's decisive victory in Indiana. 

His campaign has struggled to build on a strong second-place finish in the Republican primary in New Hampshire. He was unable emerge from a primary field of candidates who were more conservative, had more money and got more attention.

Kasich canceled a news conference in Virginia earlier in the day, as senior campaign advisers told NBC News he would end his run for president. 

Kasich announced he was suspending his campaign at the end of a nearly 20- minute speech in which he extolled the virtues of America and reflected on some of the more touching moments of his campaign, mentioning a despondent supporter who asked for a hug in South Carolina.

"We are, as human beings, hard-wired to give someone else a lift, to give someone else an opportunity," Kasich said, summing up his campaign message.

Trump said Wednesday he would consider Kasich for the vice presidency, because he would be helpful in taking Ohio in a general election. Kasich made no mention of whether he would accept such an offer. 

A veteran congressman as well as governor, Kasich has consistently pointed to his experience in three broad areas of political leadership: the federal budget, national security and state government. He also spent nearly a decade at the Lehman Brothers financial services firm.

As budget chairman in the House, he became an architect of a deal in 1997 that balanced the federal budget.

Kasich, now in his second term in swing-state Ohio, embraces conservative ideals but bucks his party on occasion.

During the campaign, Kasich has rarely offered up the type of red meat that his rivals placed at the center of their speeches. He told voters, for example, that he doesn't believe in deporting the millions of people living here illegally, because ripping people out of their homes and away from their children is un-American. And he readily admitted that working with Democrats is essential to getting things done.

In April, in a last-ditch attempt to stop Trump from getting the delegates he needed for the nomination, Kasich and Cruz announced they would coordinate their primary strategies. Kasich’s campaign was to cede to Cruz in Indiana, while Cruz’s side would do the same for Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico.

But within hours of the announcement, the alliance was already fraying when Kasich said voters in Indiana "ought to vote for me" even if he would not campaign there.

Kasich, who has won only Ohio, trails badly in the delegate count, with 153 delegates toward the 1,237 needed to win. Trump has 1,053 and Cruz earned 546 before ending his campaign. 

When Trump became the likely Republican nominee with his win in Indiana on Tuesday, Cruz quit but Kasich’s side insisted he would stay in the race. His chief strategist, John Weaver, looked ahead on Twitter to the California primary on June 7.

On Wednesday, after news emerged that Kasich was dropping out, David Axelrod, the chief strategist for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, praised the Ohio governor in a tweet.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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