Kasich Campaign: ‘The Nomination Contest Is Now Wide Open’

Kasich Face Andrew Renneisen Getty
Andrew Renneisen/Getty

WISCONSIN — The John Kasich campaign declared Tuesday night that “the nomination contest is now wide open” as early exit poll results predicted a Ted Cruz victory over Donald Trump in the Wisconsin primary.

Kasich campaign manager John Weaver sent out a memo explaining that Trump will probably not get to 1,237 delegates now, opening up the convention floor for a second-ballot Kasich power play. Cruz is currently racing to steal delegates to win on the second ballot as the Republican Establishment hints that it might run Paul Ryan at the convention in Cleveland.

Weaver wrote:

This week will be remembered as the one in which Ted Cruz and Donald Trump both effectively admitted they will not reach the GOP Convention with enough bound delegates to be the nominee.

Tonight’s results will solidify the fact that no candidate will reach Cleveland with 1237 bound delegates. Heading into today, Ted Cruz was already mathematically eliminated, needing 102% of outstanding bound delegates. Donald Trump needs to win 2/3 of remaining bound delegates.

That is confirmed by our internal data, which shows Gov. Kasich running a close second to Trump throughout the eastern seaboard and leading in many critical Congressional Districts.

“Gov. Kasich is the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton,” Weaver added, noting that “Cruz or Trump as nominee would likely be an electoral disaster for down-ballot Republicans.”

Breitbart News spoke to Kasich surrogate John Sununu Jr., of the New Hampshire Sununu dynasty, in the Spin Room after the Detroit debate about the possibility of a brokered convention for Kasich.

Sununu told Breitbart News that Kasich will gain delegates in the northern states, hold Trump to less than a majority share of delegates, and then win at a contested convention in Cleveland.

Pledged delegates can become un-pledged after the first ballot. It is possible that the Establishment could coalesce around Kasich, rather than Ted Cruz or Paul Ryan, to hand the nomination to if Trump fails to make it to a majority.

The Kasich campaign has hired a strategy team including adviser Stu Spencer in order to try to broker the convention.

Spencer’s efforts to stop Ronald Reagan in 1976 are now being touted by the Kasich campaign. Team Kasich announced that Spencer was joining the campaign’s National Strategy Council immediately after Kasich won the Ohio primary. The Kasich team’s press release played up the Ford ’76 bit:

Stu Spencer served as chief political strategist for President Ronald Reagan’s California gubernatorial campaigns in 1966 and 1970 and presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984. As chief political strategist to President Gerald Ford, Spencer played a central role in helping Ford secure the Republican nomination at the Kansas City Convention in 1976.

Spencer joined Kasich alongside fellow strategists Charlie Black, Vin Weber, and Tom Ingram, who are all veterans of Republican Party politics.