- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s home-state win against presidential front-runner Donald Trump last week brought him bigger crowds, campaign cash and media exposure, but on Sunday he clamored for something more — a little respect.

The Republican governor says he single-handedly thwarted Mr. Trump’s coronation by defending his home turf Tuesday, denying the flamboyant businessman a second trophy after he had thumped Sen. Marco Rubio out of the race with a double-digit victory in Florida.

“If I don’t win Ohio, guess what? Trump is the nominee. I win Ohio. Now they want me to get out?” an incredulous Mr. Kasich said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Mr. Kasich has a mathematical problem: Even if he were to run the table, he cannot grab enough delegates needed to secure the nomination ahead of the party convention in Cleveland in July.

As it stands, Mr. Trump leads with 678 delegates, compared to 423 for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and 143 for Mr. Kasich. A candidate needs 1,237 to secure the nomination.

Mr. Trump on Sunday predicted he would cruise to that tally, though others aren’t so sure.

Hoping to stall the mogul’s momentum, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney recently argued that a vote for Mr. Kasich is a vote for “Trumpism.” He said Republicans need to rally around Mr. Cruz.

Mr. Kasich was clearly fed up with the maneuvering on Sunday, saying that he’s “not a plotter or a schemer” and that people who think he should cede to Mr. Cruz are letting the three-man race “deteriorate into a political science class” or some type of “parlor game.”

“Now, this is a crazy idea,” he told CNN. “Who actually could be president of the United States and do a good job? When the delegates think about that, I think we will do very well, and we will go to the convention with momentum.”

The way he sees it, each of the remaining candidates is in the same boat, so his record as a conservative governor and budget-balancing congressman should keep him afloat until July.

“Nobody is going to have enough delegates,” Mr. Kasich told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re are going to go to a convention, it’s going to be open.”

His campaign blasted out a fundraising email Sunday that mentions Tuesday’s primary in Utah and an April 5 contest in Wisconsin, yet casts the convention floor as the real battleground.

“We WILL stop Trump from getting the nomination and we WILL win at the convention — and then we’ll go on to defeat Hillary [Clinton] this fall and begin the hard work of fixing America, together,” his campaign says.

GOP strategists are fretting and relishing the notion of a contested convention, with the so-called “Stop Trump” movement scrambling to line up alternate candidates or routes around the mogul’s candidacy.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Mr. Trump won’t have a lock on the nomination if he heads to Cleveland with only a plurality of delegates — exactly the type of scenario that Mr. Kasich is hoping for.

“Plurality is a minority, and a minority doesn’t choose for the majority. So you have to have a majority of the delegates in order to be the nominee,” Mr. Priebus told ABC’s “This Week.” “There’s nothing magical about the number. It’s 50 percent plus one.”

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