Ohio Gov. John Kasich cannot get the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination through the primary process and his challengers Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are asking him to get out of the race.
Trump and Cruz also agree that a 2012 Republican convention rule would keep Kasich from being eligible for the nomination.
“If I didn’t have Kasich, I automatically win,” Trump said Sunday evening in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Special report from our Ohio Politics political team
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Kasich won Ohio’s March 15 primary, but has not won any other states. He is expected to come in third in today’s Wisconsin primary.
For the first time, Cruz went after Kasich earlier this week with a negative ad campaign in Wisconsin.
Cruz and Trump both say that a 2012 GOP convention rule would bar Kasich — or anyone other than the two of them — from getting the nomination at the Cleveland convention. The rule states that to be considered a candidate must win a majority in eight states. Only Trump and Cruz meet that requirement.
However, the rule can be changed at the convention by the Rules Committee which meets the day before the convention begins on July 18. Since a large chunk of the delegates on the committee are likely to back Trump and Cruz, the rule might stay in place.
“We should operate under the rules that existed when this whole process started,” Cruz told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt last week. “And those rules say that in order to be on the ballot, you have to have won eight states.”
Cruz says that means only him and Trump are eligible for the nomination. Currently, Trump has 736 delegates, Cruz has 463 and Kasich has 143. Other candidates who are out of the race such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are also holding onto their delegates in case they can bargain with them in Cleveland.
Kasich says calls for him to drop out of the race amount to basic whining.
Speaking at Hofstra University Monday, the Ohio governor notes Trump himself admitted Kasich is winning over his voters.
Kasich says, “they’re really not ‘his’ people, they’re Americans who are worried.”
Kasich says he won’t get “desperate” like Trump and Cruz, to win the GOP nomination.
Kasich says he’s the only one of the three Republicans who can win the general election
On This Week with George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Kasich said the possibility of an open GOP convention would be “cool.”
Cruz says talk of someone other than him or Trump winning the Republican nomination at a contested convention is “nothing less than a pipe dream.”
That was his answer to a question about someone getting the nomination who didn’t run this year, such as 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney — or Kasich.
Cruz told reporters in Madison, Wisc., on Monday that if that happened, “the people would rightly revolt.”