DETROIT -- Republican presidential candidate John Kasich today pledged that if he finishes in first place in Ohio’s primary in two weeks, he will continue to campaign until the Republican National Convention in July.
"If I win Ohio, he’s not going to be the nominee,” Kasich, the governor of Ohio, told reporters, referring to fellow candidate Donald Trump. “I mean … we’re going to go to the convention, I’m going to be the nominee.”
Kasich has said before that if he does not win the March 15 Ohio primary, he would drop out of the race for the Republican nomination for president. Today marks the first time, though, that he has said a top finish in his home state would keep him in the election until the convention, which is scheduled to take place July 18 to 21 in Cleveland.
The governor’s comments came hours before tonight’s Republican debate in Detroit and amid increasing speculation that July’s convention may be contested if Trump, who has won the most delegates so far, does not win enough to hit the minimum threshold to clinch the nomination outright.
“At the end of the day in all this, it is going to get down to a couple states, and Ohio is going to be absolutely critical,” Kasich said. “And we will go all out, and I will win Ohio.”
A victory in the Buckeye State would spread his message farther, Kasich said.
“When that happens, then people will begin to see more of who I am and what my message is and what our team is all about,” Kasich said, “and then we'll be able to compete in many other states."