- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday said the “establishment” is afraid of him and told his supporters to “keep the faith” and keep their seat belts fastened as the 2016 GOP presidential nominating contest moves forward.

“The establishment never liked Ronald Reagan,” Mr. Kasich said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” echoing a line often used by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “They always were afraid of him. The establishment never liked Newt Gingrich, and guess what? The establishment is afraid of me.”

“I don’t take orders from anybody over there,” he said. “It’s not K Street kind of telling me what to do. We make these people nervous.”

Mr. Kasich said he’s not “anti-establishment.”

“At the same time, we don’t like the status quo and we really believe in change,” he said.

Mr. Kasich is trying to ride his second-place finish in New Hampshire past Super Tuesday into states like Ohio and Michigan, where his prospects are likely better than in many of the southern states that hold their nominating contests on March 1.

Mr. Kasich has moved into fourth place at 11 percent support in two new national polls on the 2016 GOP field. He picked up 8 points of support since January in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Wednesday and gained 9 points of support since last month in a CBS News poll released Thursday.

He said he’ll be traveling to Vermont and Massachusetts on Saturday — the day of the South Carolina primary — and is still deciding on what to do with Nevada, which holds its caucuses on Tuesday.

But he also said he also expects to be competitive in states like Virginia and Tennessee, which vote on March 1.

“We go to the deep south — as you know, in Mississippi we’ve got [former Senate Majority Leader] Trent Lott and really the whole establishment pretty much locked down in Mississippi,” he said. “We’re moving over in Alabama with the support of the governor. At some point … we’re going to get up to Illinois, we’re going to go to Michigan, where I’ve spent a lot of time, winner-take-all in Ohio, Pennsylvania.”

“Just for everybody that has some hope that I can win, just keep your seat belt fastened — there’s a long, long way to go, and we’re very hopeful,” he said. “And as you can see, it’s moving up. Just everybody keep the faith. … They always doubt me. It’s always great to be underestimated.”

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