John Kasich, Donald Trump’s last Republican rival, exits US presidential race

Ohio Governor John Kasich announces he is ending his longshot presidential bid, leaving Donald Trump's path clear to capture the Republican nomination.
Kasich at a campaign town hall event in Pennsylvania in April 2016.
Kasich at a campaign town hall event in Pennsylvania in April 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - Ohio Governor John Kasich announced on Wednesday he was suspending his US presidential campaign, leaving billionaire Donald Trump as the last Republican candidate and the party’s presumptive nominee.

“As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith – deeper faith – that the Lord will show me the way forward,” the low-polling Kasich told supporters in Ohio, ending his effort to block Trump from becoming the party’s 2016 standard-bearer.

Mr Kasich cancelled a scheduled press conference in Washington, DC earlier on Wednesday, announcing instead that he would make a statement in Columbus, Ohio in the evening. 

 

This comes a day after Mr Trump's big victory in Indiana, where he all but sealed the Republican nomination. The win resulted in Texas Senator Ted Cruz dropping out of the race. 

Mr Kasich, who had run a feeble campaign, winning only his home state of Ohio, had gathered only 153 delegates - fewer than the 173 delegates for Florida senator Marco Rubio, who had quit the race in March. 

 
 
 

Mr Kasich hung his campaign on the idea that he was a moderate who had the best chance of beating Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the general election, but a tweet by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Tuesday night calling Mr Trump the "presumptive nominee", indicating that the party would back the billionaire businessman, may have prompted Mr Kasich's decision to drop out. 

Analysts have noted that this may not be the last Americans hear of Mr Kasich.

His strength in Ohio, a state that Republicans must win in order to win the general election, could make him a possible pick as Mr Trump's vice-presidential running mate.