Prior to the New Hampshire primary, Pulsefeedz and other political analysts assumed that the real battle between Republican candidates would be for second place, because Donald Trump had first place locked down according to polls. The results proved this assumption to be true, but the owner of second place was a bit of a surprise.
John Kasich, current governor of Ohio, secured second place after some hardcore campaigning in New Hampshire. Many expected Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to be runner-up to Trump, after his win in the Iowa caucus. Kasich’s finish above other frontrunners such as Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, was driven by late-comers and “concentrated among moderate, upscale, and independent-leaning Republican voters who were turned off by Cruz, Rubio and Trump,” according to an article in The Washington Post .
Kasich has a fantastic opportunity here. The fact that he is so focused on avoiding bipartisan squabbles and working as a team to restore America is why he was able to achieve relative success in New Hampshire. While other Republican candidates were fighting one another, he remained focused on his positive message. In a speech recorded by CBSN, Kasich reiterated that his campaign refused to attack other candidates to gain votes.
“Today, the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning,” Kasich said.
How can this light persist coming out of New Hampshire? Tom Rath, one of Kasich’s advisers in New Hampshire, said in an interview with The Washington Post that Kasich can succeed “by focusing on a careful allocation of resources in difficult states during the next month and then breaking out in Michigan on March 8 and in states such as Ohio and Illinois on March 15.”
According to an article in The New York Times, Kasich’s moderate messages on health care and immigration, among other issues, that have enabled him to draw support from “centrist Republican and independent voters in New Hampshire” is not as attractive to many of the ultra-conservative voters on his next stop in South Carolina.
However, Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver claims that this should not be too much of a problem, because Kasich’s campaign is focused more on rallying support in the midwest. Additionally, he mentioned that their fundraising numbers for the month of January were strong.
“We’re organized in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, the Plains states, the Rocky Mountain states,” Weaver said. “[South Carolina] is not a must-win.”
Prior to the New Hampshire primary, Kasich was well along the path to fading into obscurity. But while the other candidates squabbled, he saw his moment and made the most of it. Hopefully, he continues to do so throughout the rest of the primary election.
In his speech at the end of the night on Tuesday, Kasich thanked his audience.
“The wonderful people of New Hampshire have changed me,” he said. “… We will move from South Carolina all across this country… And you just wait, there’s so much that’s gonna happen. If you don’t have a seatbelt go get one.”