- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday dropped out of the 2016 GOP presidential race, clearing the way for Donald Trump to seize the Republican nomination and focus on the general election.

Following in the footsteps of more than a dozen other Republican candidates before him, Mr. Kasich said at a press conference that be believes the Lord has another purpose for him.

“I have always said 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,” Mr. Kasich said.

The announcement sets the stage for a general election showdown between Mr. Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is expected to emerge victorious in her longer-than-anticipated race against Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, signaled Wednesday that Mr. Kasich still may have a role to play in the election, saying that he is among the group of people he is considering for vice president.

“I would be interested in vetting John,” Mr. Trump said on CNN. “I like John. I’ve had a good relationship with John. Whether he is vice president or not, he will be very helpful with Ohio.”

Mr. Kasich’s brightest moments of the campaign came in the New Hampshire primary, where he finished second, and in his home state of Ohio, where he scored his first, and only, win of the 2016 presidential race in March.

As the race grew increasingly nasty on both sides, Mr. Kasich largely maintained his vow not to go negative or, as he told voters, to “take the low road to the highest office in the land.”

It may have been a more effective tactic for dealing with his rivals — Mr. Trump frequently referred to Mr. Kasich as “a nice guy,” while lashing out at Mr. Cruz with names like “Lyin’ Ted.”

Mr. Kasich did eventually launch a series of blistering criticisms against Mr. Trump’s candidacy, blasting the businessman for creating a “toxic” environment and preying on people’s fears.

Mr. Kasich argued that he would be able to win over Mr. Trump’s supporters if he gained more attention, saying he understood their economic worries from his own experiences growing up in the blue-collar town of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. He insisted that his upbringing positioned him to offer real solutions to those who need them most.

“It seems as though the attention goes to those who call names,” Mr. Kasich lamented to reporters in March. “I refused to do it this entire campaign, even it meant that I would be ignored, and even if it meant that I would lose.”

Mr. Kasich held out hope for more than a month that Mr. Trump would fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needed to win the party’s presidential nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

As part of that effort, Mr. Kasich agreed to not actively campaign for votes in Indiana in order to bolster Sen. Ted Cruz’s chances of tripping up Mr. Trump in the Hoosier State.

But Mr. Trump prevailed, delivering his seventh win in a row, chasing Mr. Cruz from the race and prompting Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to declare Mr. Trump the presumptive nominee and to call on the party to unite against Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Kasich, 63, plans to return to Ohio, where his second term as governor ends in 2018.

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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