As Ohio Governor and state primary winner John Kasich took the stage at his victory party in Berea, Ohio, a protester tried to disrupt the governor. Undaunted, Kasich powered on.
“You know, when you went to college in the 1970s, you appreciate a good peaceful protest once in a while,” he said wryly, as supporters chanted “Kasich, Kasich” and “USA, USA.”
Kasich’s speech was focused on staying the course and remaining the one positive campaigner in the race. He said he will “not take the low road to the highest office in the land.” Clearly from his opening lines Kasich was presenting himself as the kinder, gentler, anti-Trump candidate.
Kasich also made a play for Marco Rubio’s voters, urging his crowd to thank Rubio for his campaign.
The Ohioan continued, saying his campaign was about “delivering a message” to the nation and “pulling us together, not pulling us apart.”
“I represent you and it is my job to look at these situations and these problems and to listen to you,” he said.
The Republican touted his work leading Ohio, saying, “We are now up 400,000 plus jobs, running a $2 billion surplus, our pensions are secure and we’ve cut taxes by more than any governor in this country and we are leaving no one behind.”
He also promised to change Washington. “I think we can rally the people in Washington because I am going to remind them before we are Republicans and Democrats, we are Americans and we have an obligation to our children,” he said.
Kasich also related a story of something that happened to him earlier that night.
“We thought we could sneak in and kind of grab a quick meal. And as we walked through the restaurant, people started to cheer. My reaction–I said, ‘Please don’t do that, because you’re going to make me cry,'” the Gov. said.
“To have people believe in you and to believe that you can bring people together and strengthen our country, I have to thank the people of the great state of Ohio, I love ya,” Kasich insisted.
Kasich promised to head to Philadelphia next to continue the campaign, then ended saying, “Look, this is all I got.” He thanked his supporters and said he was going to go “all the way to Cleveland to win the nomination.”
The Ohioan, though, may not even be on the ballot in Pennsylvania. A lawsuit was filed against Kasich in the Keystone State contending the campaign did not have enough valid signatures on nominating petitions to place the Governor’s name on the ballot.
Further, by some reports, going into the primary in his home state the governor only had a campaign war chest of a million dollars and no announced plans to carry on past Ohio.
Ohio is a winner-take-all state, and John Kasich will take all 66 of the state’s GOP delegates.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com