"It's on the 15th of March when this race narrows down, when Marco Rubio loses Florida and we win Ohio," Kasich's chief strategist, John Weaver, told ABC News. After that, he said, Kasich, who has faced calls for him to drop out, could beat Trump in a two-person race.
A Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters released Thursday showed Rubio in second place with 28 percent of the vote, far behind Trump's 44 percent. A Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters that was released Tuesday showed Kasich in second place with 26 percent support, trailing Trump by 5 percent.
"Some of the other candidates, if they can't win their home state, they have [to] get out," Kasich told attendees at a town hall-style meeting he held in Nashville Saturday. "If I don't win my home state, I'll get out. But you know what? I am going to win Ohio. I can promise you."
Kasich said beating Trump in the Buckeye State would be "the beginning of a new day."
Several obstacles stand in his way, though, including signals from top Republicans that they want Kasich to drop out in favor of Rubio; both are widely viewed as representing the establishment compared to the other three candidates in the field, although they reject that label.
"The road to Ohio in this case leads through Michigan," Weaver told ABC News, although he would not say how high the campaign needed to finish.
"If we’re talking about a fractured field going into Michigan, that makes it difficult for anyone other than Donald Trump to win Michigan," he told reporters today.
In that case, Weaver denied a report that his campaign was floating an idea of a so-called "brokered convention," in which state delegates could switch allegiance and back a new candidate.
"I'm not saying we're not thinking about every contingency, but our focus right now is what's in front of us," Weaver said Saturday.
In the meantime, Kasich has resisted calls for him to drop out and has seemed to almost relish in the attacks. On Saturday, he compared himself to the Biblical character Noah, who was lampooned for building an ark.
"He starts building a boat," Kasich said, "And the people are coming by, and they are laughing at him, and they are mocking him, and they think he is crazy, and he just keeps building that boat. Well, who was the smart one? Old Noah. And sometimes you just have to be willing to stand."