COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 4 (UPI) — Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Wednesday became the last of his party’s contenders to drop out of the 2016 presidential race — locking in Donald Trump as November’s GOP nominee.
Kasich canceled a speech in Virginia earlier Wednesday and returned to his home state of Ohio amid reports that he was bowing out. In Columbus Wednesday afternoon, he made his departure official.
“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,” he said. “I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me, as he has for everyone.”
The Ohio governor became Trump’s last remaining challenger for the Republican nomination on Tuesday night, when Ted Cruz left the race in the wake of a critical defeat in Indiana — where Trump won 53 percent of the vote and all 57 of the state’s delegates. Cruz won 37 percent and Kasich, 7 percent.
Facing even greater odds than Cruz, Kasich took a few more hours than the Texas senator to reach the same conclusion.
“We never had all the money we wanted. We were probably outspent by 50 to one, but we were never, ever daunted by that. And we just got up every day and did the best we could,” he said.
“It’s kind of inevitable,” former congressman Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican and staunch Kasich supporter, said. “Trump will have the votes, and there’s nothing John can do about it.”
Even amid reports earlier that Kasich would drop out, there was some doubt. The Ohio governor’s campaign posted a video online Wednesday morning that seemed to indicate the campaign would continue.
The short Twitter video featured Star Wars music and scrolling text to lay out a doomsday scenario for Republicans.
“In a galaxy not so far away … ” the video begins, before it foretells a Hillary Clintonpresidency with a nomination of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to theSupreme Court. With the Democrats having won control of both houses of Congress,Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are preparing tax increases and more Obamacare spending, the video’s future depicts.
The video then cuts to news reports touting Kasich’s electability in November’s election and concludes with the Star Wars line, “You’re our only hope,” before flashing the campaign’s logo.
Even as Trump’s sole remaining challenger, analysts said Kasich had no path to the nomination. He was even snubbed by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Tuesday, who called Trump the “presumptive nominee” while Kasich was still in the race.
Further, Kasich’s campaign manager pledged Tuesday that the candidate would fight through to the last of nine more primaries on the schedule.
Some have speculated that Trump might tab Kasich as his running mate, but the governor has previously indicated he would not be interested in the No. 2 post.