COLUMBUS, OH – On Tuesday evening, May 3, even after U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (TX) dropped out of the 2016 Republican presidential race, following a big victory by frontrunner Donald Trump in the Indiana Primary, John Kasich vowed to press on, tweeting “California here we come,” in reference to the June 7 primary.
Having won just one of over 40 states, his own state of Ohio, where he is the sitting governor, Kasich was under pressure to drop out, lest he be considred a spoiler – with no viable path to the GOP nomination, and only a gadfly prevent Trump from sealing the bid and beginning to unify the party ahead of the general election.
The following morning, while sitting in an airplane in a Columbus airport about to fly to Washington, where Kasich would attend fundraising events, he asked for the plane to return to the gate, CNN reported. “My heart is not in this,” he told his closest advisors.
Later that afternoon, he formally suspended his campaign, stating that “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.”
With Kasich’s departure from the race, Trump is the last man standing, and barring some phenomenon of historic magnitude, will be formally declared the Republican nominee at that party’s convention in July.
On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton maintains a strong lead over Bernie Sanders, but he has consistently thwarted her momentum with wins in various states, including Indiana.