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Kasich Pins Hope on Convention

Image: Kasich Pins Hope on Convention
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (AP) 

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Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 08:48 AM Current | Bio | Archive

“The path to nomination is the convention,” Kasich told me, following his speech to more than 900 conservative activists at the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (PLC) in Harrisburg, Pa.

The Ohio governor freely acknowledged that his strategy was based on neither Donald Trump nor Cruz having the majority of delegates needed to be nominated on the first ballot, and thus requiring the convention to go to multiple ballots for the first time since 1948 (when New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey was nominated on the third ballot).

“Of course it is going to take [more than one ballot] because nobody is going to have enough votes,” he said, “Nobody is going to have enough delegates.


"After the first two ballots, everybody is free to do what they want. And I think they’ll pick someone who can win in the fall and someone who’s got experience.”

To get to that point, Kasich acknowledged that the controversial Rule 40b that so far bars his name from being placed in nomination must be scrapped before the convention meets in Cleveland.

Passed at the close of the 2012 convention by backers of then-nominee Mitt Romney, Rule 40b says that unless a candidate is supported by a majority of delegates in eight states, he or she can neither be placed in nomination or received votes for president from delegates.

“Look, we’re going to have new rules and it doesn’t matter what the last convention did,” Kasich told us, “That was yesterday and the last time I checked, we lost [in 2012].”

But the Ohioan did stop short of endorsing the movement to have the 56-member Rules Committee of the Republican National Committee scrap 40B at its meeting in Florida later this month.

In his words, “I support the people on the Rules Committee creating the rules for the next convention. We do it every time. I don’t anything about when they meet and how it works. I’m telling you each convention should set the rules that guide its convention.”

As far as Kasich is concerned, he told us, “There are no rules for 2016 convention until the Rules Committee meets.” (Under party by-laws, the RNC Rules Committee will decide if it wants to change any rules in April. However, the Rules Committee of the convention can then vote to override the RNC panel and undo any changes that were made. Should disagreements persist after that, the convention will have the final say on the rules to be used prior to nominating a candidate for president).

In reaching the convention, Kasich also made clear it was less important to win primaries than to collect handfuls of delegates. “Getting delegates is decisive and pivotal wherever we go,” he said, “Our definition of success is continuing to pick up delegates. We’ll have some in Wisconsin [April 5].

"We’re running second in virtually all the congressional districts in New York [in the April 19 primary] and then we’ll come [to Pennsylvania] for the primary April 26.”

According to a just-completed Franklin and Marshall College Poll of likely Pennsylvania voters, Kasich is slightly trailing Trump 33 percent to 30 percent, and Cruz is third with 20 percent.


Cruz did get a boost Saturday, however, with a smashing win (64.6 percent) of the straw poll of participants at the PLC — the largest-ever gathering of the annual event for Keystone State conservatives since it began in 1989.

Were Kasich to secure nomination in Cleveland, it would be the first time since 1940 a candidate who arrived at the national convention trailing in delegates went on to become the nominee.

That year, attorney and utilities executive Wendell Willkie failed to win a single primary and trailed better known opponents such as Dewey and Sens. Robert Taft and Arthur Vandenburg in delegates. But he finally pulled off nomination on the sixth ballot.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

 

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Were Kasich to secure nomination in Cleveland, it would be the first time since 1940 a candidate who arrived at the national convention trailing in delegates went on to become the nominee.
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