Posted: 10:15 am Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
From Cleveland, Ohio –
With Gov. John Kasich refusing to endorse Donald Trump for the GOP nomination, delegates from his home state of Ohio are feeling some pressure at this Republican convention as a range of voices continue to urge them to put this year’s primary fight behind them, and work hard for Trump in November.
“If you leave here divided, you have no shot at this,” pollster Frank Luntz bluntly told Ohio delegates over breakfast on Tuesday.
“You’re going to determine the next election,” Luntz added, as he argued that “Donald Trump is the epitome of change.”
But Luntz also acknowledged that Trump has problems with voters, many of whom in a swing state like Ohio see the GOP standard bearer as too harsh and divisive.
And the feud between Trump and Kasich has not lost much steam in recent days, leading to even more bruised feelings and division.
“I think it’s important for Donald Trump to do everything he can to unify the Republican Party,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who supported Kasich, but now says he’ll vote for Trump.
“Governor Kasich is a popular Ohio Governor. It would certainly make a lot of sense for Donald Trump to reach out to Governor Kasich,” DeWine told reporters at the Ohio delegation hotel.
But the war of words has only escalated in recent days between Team Trump and Team Kasich, as no endorsement is expected – and so, the Ohio Governor is on the outside looking in at the GOP convention in his home state.
Kasich’s only appearance inside the convention hall was on the big screen on Monday – part of a group of GOP Governors.
Other than that, he’s not expected at the arena this week.
The spat between Trump and the Ohio GOP establishment is very evident on the convention floor, as Ohio is way off on the side of the podium – not right up front where the home state delegation usually is.
Grateful for the big screens here, given the view from the Ohio delegation seats. pic.twitter.com/BZ173hMR5X
— Dave Yost (@Yost4Ohio) July 18, 2016
That’s not a tweet from some random Ohio delegate – Yost is the State Auditor.
So, while Attorney General DeWine and others from Ohio have joined the Trump bandwagon, there are still others from this key state just aren’t there.
“A lot of women in (Kasich’s) family aren’t happy with Trump, as a lot of people aren’t, including me,” said former Congressman David Hobson, a Kasich delegate, who said he doesn’t think this rift will be healed in coming days.
And that has Republicans worried.
“You tell me who, and how Ohio goes, and I will tell you the next President,” Luntz the pollster told Buckeye delegates.
And if enough Republicans in this state sit on their hands and don’t vote for Trump, it could well mean defeat for the GOP in November.
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.