Posted: 5:53 pm Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
In an atmosphere that resembled a campaign stop, Gov. John Kasich came to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to thank backers of his failed bid for President, saying nothing publicly about Republican nominee Donald Trump or the GOP convention.
“I wanted to invite a few of our friends to have a ‘thank you’ party today,” Kasich said, flanked on stage by his wife.
Kasich acknowledged that he had left the GOP race suddenly back in late March, and never really got the chance to honor those who had done so much for him.
“I mean, I know what it is like and what it takes, and I can’t thank you enough for everything that you have done,” Kasich said, as supporters from Ohio and other states applauded.
“The campaign profoundly changed me,” Kasich added, alluding to many moments where voters seemed to open up to the Ohio Governor in an unusually personal way.
Kasich said nothing about Donald Trump directly – just hours before the GOP convention was scheduled to approve his nomination, as Kasich remains the Governor In Exile in his own home state.
“I am an optimist about America,” the Governor said in his just over six minutes of remarks.
But even as Gov. Kasich was rallying with supporters, there were some rumblings from within the Ohio Republican Party that it was time for the Governor to get on board with Trump.
“Far be it for me to give advice to the Governor, but I would like to see everybody come together,” said Randy Law, the chairman of the Trumbull County, Ohio GOP.
Waiting on Kasich to speak Tuesday, Law recounted how their “Trump booth” at the local Trumbull County Fair had been swamped with interest – a signal he says that Republican elected officials need to follow.
“The response was phenomenal, never seen anything like it,” said Law.
“We couldn’t keep shirts, we couldn’t keep hats,” Law said, as a large number of people asked for signs and more.
Trumbull County was one of a string of border counties that went for Trump back in the March primary, as he won the area north of Youngstown by an 18 point margin over Kasich.
It was part of a sweep for Trump all along Ohio’s border with Pennsylvania, stretching all along West Virginia and Kentucky – stopping only at Cincinnati along the Ohio River, where Gov. Kasich was able to stop Trump that night.
“We love our Governor here in Ohio, we’d love to see him on board – but we’re going forward,” Law said.
“We’re all in with Trump.”
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.