Kasich Scores Ohio Win, What's Next?


Ohio Governor John Kasich is riding high after securing a win in his home state’s primary contest on Tuesday. This is Kasich’s first win after placing second in the New Hampshire primary last month.

The Kasich campaign took to Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) on Wednesday to share a behind the scenes celebration video after he captured the winner-take-all state: “That moment when you win a major primary state and everything changes.”

The excitement of victory is fading fast, though. Kasich must use his new momentum to secure more delegates in order to beat his remaining GOP rivals, businessman Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In the latest count, Trump holds 673 delegates, Cruz has 411 and Kasich has so far grabbed 143. For a candidate to win the Republican nomination, he must have 1,237 delegates.

David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron said the Kasich campaign will now be targeting Pennsylvania, which is not only the state where the candidate grew up, but one also similar to Ohio demographically. Cohen said besides working on a state-by-state game plan, Kasich must garner big-dollar donations.

“With Marco Rubio dropping out, I think the establishment money is really going to start flowing to Kasich. It should’ve flowed to him when Jeb Bush got out, but it didn’t because the establishment was betting on Rubio. I think with the new found money it’s really going to be a boost to his campaign,” he said.

In comparison to Cruz, Cohen said the Ohio Governor would be a “much better general-election candidate” when facing either Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Ted Cruz is probably as widely disliked as Donald Trump and Trump is a more controversial candidate but nobody in the Republican party likes Cruz. They feel his politics are way too far to the right of many, and Kasich is more in line with the Republican establishment,” Cohen said.

The strategy for Kasich’s campaign all along has been a brokered convention. Cohen said this is what he has been counting on ever since the New Hampshire primary results where Trump won with 35% support, while Kasich grabbed 15% of the vote.

“Kasich has been targeting Ohio thinking by winning Ohio and by Cruz picking off enough delegates from here until the convention that Trump is going to be denied a majority of those delegates and it’s going to be a brokered convention in Cleveland, Ohio Kasich’s home state and the campaign feel he has a good shot at becoming the nominee that way,” Cohen said.

Since the 1800s there have been eight contested Republican conventions, in five of them the eventual winner did not go into the convention with a majority of delegates.

Past Contested Republican Conventions:

*1880 – Convention was contested, James Garfield won  1884 – Convention was contested, James G. Blaine won *1888 - Convention was contested, Benjamin Harrison won *1912 -- Convention was contested, William Taft won 1916 -- Convention was contested, Charles Hughes won *1920 - Convention was contested, Warren Harding won *1940 - Convention was contested, Wendell Willkie won 1948 -- Convention was contested, Thomas Dewey won*The winner went into the convention without a delegate lead.

“In the modern era we live in, a brokered convention is unprecedented. Republicans haven’t had one since 1948. Most people have not witnessed something like that,“ Cohen said.

When it comes to beating out Trump for the nomination, Cohen says there is no doubt Cruz and Kasich split the anti-Trump voters. However, he said Kasich’s candidacy can reach farther into the electorate than Cruz.

“Kasich really appeals to a lot more moderates to liberals, real Republicans, many independents and even some Democrats. I think he is going to be drawing more from that crowd going forward and he’s going to be setting himself up as a real alternative to the divisive campaigns of both Trump and Cruz,“ Cohen said.