On Wednesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced he was suspending his presidential campaign. Kasich's concession speech comes after a 13-month long effort by the 63-year-old governor to secure the GOP nomination. Standing before a crowd of supporters and press in Columbus, Ohio, Kasich received a lengthy ovation from those gathered. Kasich spent several minutes lovingly thanking his wife Karen for her support. Following on the heels of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's GOP primary concession on Tuesday night, billionaire Donald Trump has now become the presumptive GOP nominee for President of the United States in November's election.
Kasich's path to the presidency had been a relatively unimpressive one; the GOP hopeful was only able to secure a single primary victory — Ohio, his home state — out of 40 primary and caucus races since the Iowa caucus in February. Kasich had only garnered 153 total pledged delegates — a mere 12 percent of the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination at the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July. Some might argue it's better for Kasich to drop out now rather than face the hard truth in his home state at the Republican National Convention.
Despite a lengthy note posted Tuesday night on Kasich's campaign Facebook page stating that Indiana's primary results would not "alter Gov. Kasich’s campaign plans," it appears those campaign plans changed as of Wednesday morning. Kasich failed to appear for a scheduled campaign press briefing Wednesday morning at Washington Dulles International Airport; his campaign then announced the Wednesday morning briefing was canceled and that Kasich would host a press conference at 5 p.m. Eastern Time in Columbus.
A full transcript of Kasich's speech can be found below:
Thank you all for coming. Well, of course, the first thing I have to do is to thank my great wife, Karen, for the fact that she has endured my political career and also of course also accentuated it. There's nobody like Karen. She's charismatic. She walks into a room and people fall in love with her.
You know, when she appeared on Anderson Cooper, John Weaver commented and Beth Hansen commented that if we'd only run Karen, we would've been a lot more successful. I happen to agree with that. And then Emma and Reese showed up, and they're unbelievable. They're just so beautiful, and they've been so supportive, and they've traveled with me around the country as well. It was such a delight to have the family on the road. As their principal has said, "Don't let education get in the way of learning." And I think that they learned a great deal.
Of course, I want to thank the Worthington Christian staff for their patience and willingness to kind of look after our family. It was terrific.
Our staff: Nobody has ever done more with less, in the history of politics, than what this staff has done. It has always kind of been this way. It has been a mystery to me, other than to say that I like to think that they have think they've been a part of something bigger than themselves. And we all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And I think we do it with honesty and integrity. And as a result, I think I know, and I sure hope and pray that they feel that this experience that they have had in this campaign has improved their lives in some way, for the better. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them.
The volunteers were just amazing. I don't know how many—800 people we had that went to New Hampshire, people that went to Michigan. People were in South Carolina. I would show up in places and people I knew, I was like, "Why are you here?" But they were believers. And I could never thank them enough for the long car rides in the snows of New Hampshire. They knocked on doors in the rain in South Carolina. They knocked on doors and really gave of themselves. My mother always used to say, "Never forget the volunteers, Johnny." They were always the ones that have given me the octane, the fuel to be able to carry out my purpose.
And I want to thank the people who gave money — the financial resources. We never had all the money we wanted. We were probably outspent by 50 to one, but we were never, ever daunted by that. And we just got up every day and did the best we could.
And of course, a big thank you goes out to Beth Hansen, the campaign manager. She did everything she could possibly do. Oh, and my dear, dear friend Doug Price — well, we'll start getting into these names — But Emma looked at him and said, "Mr. Doug, didn't you travel with my daddy for a year and a half?" And Reese looked at him and said, "How'd you ever do that?" But we had a great time. And we're going to have a lot more fun in the future.
The kitchen cabinet: I look at Joanne Davidson and Bob Klaffky, and Tim Tripepi, who was the only guy I know that carried more luggage than an entire circus crew. It was just unbelievable. And I know I'm leaving some people out, but I want to thank every one of you.
You know, I visited these beautiful, beautiful towns in New Hampshire. People had really counted me out in New Hampshire, but when we hit our 100th town hall, it was remarkable. Those beautiful towns — I will never forget the people of New Hampshire. We moved from New Hampshire and the far East all the way to the excitement of California, even being able to sit in traffic in Los Angeles. I just love California and what it means to our country — the excitement that it breeds.
And I remember, we were in the upper peninsula of Michigan — never knew where it was, I never knew it was actually located above Wisconsin — and we landed, and I remember everyone was looking at their phones. And I said, "Would you all please put down your phones, because this is a winter wonderland! This is magical what's we're seeing here, what the good lord has given us."
To the energy of Miami Beach, Florida for one of the last debates. You know, it was interesting, they didn't think I could make any of the debates and I made all 13 of them. In fact, won a couple of them.
As for my beloved Ohio, the people here—I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity that you've given me to be a leader in this state. The people of Ohio have given me the greatest professional experience of my lifetime. I have tried to pay them back. Last night in Cleveland, a woman, an African American woman, said, "You made promises, and you kept them. And that's why I'm here tonight, because I believe in you, that you brought our people together. Well, It only happened because the people gave me chance.
And everywhere I went in America, I told the people about our beautiful beloved state and held Ohio high. And I think I gave people an impression, from one end of America to the other, that Ohio is a special place. I expect we're going to have more visits as a result.
I marveled at my colleagues that held public office. They knocked on doors and made phone calls. These were people that came from the legislature. I mean, when you're an executive and have to deal with the legislature, it's not always peaches and cream. But yet these legislators, the leaders, the speaker of the house, the president of the senate, some of my state-wide colleagues like the attorney general—just incredible that they would have come out and honored me. Frankly, I was so humbled by the fact that they came, and they loved me. They encouraged me.
The people of this country changed me. They changed me with the stories of their lives. We all remember that hug in South Carolina from that young man who had found despair and then found hope somehow. And he just wanted to give me a hug. The country marveled. But you know, that was one of a series of these things that had happened: The gentleman that showed up in New Hampshire, he said, "I don't think I've warned my son enough about the dangers of a certain type of cancer, and now he has it and I'm blaming myself." And he put his arm around me and cried. And I said, "Sir, it's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. You are a great father—you come here all the way from New York to tell me about this. Take the load off of your shoulders."
He wrote us a letter saying that little conversation made a difference with him. And when we went to New York, months later, standing at the rope line was that man. He said, "I want you to know my son is doing much better. And I wanted to be here to thank you for taking the time with me."
We were in a hall in Michigan. A woman stood up and showed a picture of her son who had taken his life. We talked about faith, talked about her son and where he was. And everybody in that hall embraced that woman and made her feel that she was not alone.
See, stories like this occurred all across our country. And I think it's frankly because, for whatever reason, God gave me the grace to make people feel safe and comfortable. They came to these town halls, which were absolutely magic. I've learned something, folks: that we all need to slow down our lives and listen to those who are around us.
Look, let me be clear: We all know that economic grown it imperative to the success of our country. Economic growth gives people and opportunity to realize many of their hopes and dreams in life. And without a job, the family is weaker, the community is weaker, the neighborhood is weaker. The state suffers and our country struggles. I can tell you economic growth can be achieved by our public officials if they do their job. But they have to ignore polls. They can't focus on focus groups. And they have to overcome their fear of re-election or criticism. See the formula is simple and it works. It is commonsense regulations that don't crush our small businesses, because that is where our kids get their work now increasingly. That is the fastest area of job growth.
We need to lower taxes for individuals. We have to cut taxes for businesses so they invest in America, not some country located in Europe. We need a realistic path to balance the budget. Frankly, nothing is more imperative than a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that forces Congress to do their job. We have to keep in mind that we need to shift power, money, and influence from the government to the people, wherever we live. We have to begin to run America again from the bottom-up.
However, the spirit, the essence of America lies in the hearts and souls of us. You see, some missed this message. It wasn't sexy. It wasn't a great soundbite. But I saw a young lady in Philadelphia who came to me and said, "I'm a producer on a major cable show, and I watch your town halls and talk about the spirit of our country (and my role)." And she said, "You have affected my life."
You see, I believe we all need to live a life bigger than ourselves. Yes, we need to live a life a little bigger than ourselves. We need to reach out to help someone else. Because you know what? It comes to us naturally if we let it. You see, we are, as human beings, kind of hard-wired to want to give someone else a lift, give someone else an opportunity. When we reach out—it's so interesting—when we reach out and help someone else, what it does is it opens us, ourselves, to recognizing and receiving the help that we need in our lives. It's a virtuous circle when we help someone else to rise. It opens us up to receive the things that we need in our lives, regardless of who we are.
To paraphrase and old adage, "I sought for the greatness of America in her harbors and in her rivers and I did not find it. I sought it in her fertile fields and boundless forests and did not find it. I sought her greatness in her halls of congress, and I did not find it."
You see, after this campaign, I see it in us when we come together. When we lift one another with our eyes on the horizon.
Throughout my campaign, I have said the Lord may have another purpose for me, and it set all the pundits atwitter. "Does that mean he's not committed, or he's not focused, or he's not energetic?" It showed to some degree how little they understand about life.
You see, I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me, as he has for everyone. And as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith — deeper faith — that the Lord will show me the way forward, and fulfill the purpose of my life.
Thank you, and God bless.
Whatever Kasich does next, with his dropout speech on Wednesday, he undeniably left an important mark on the Republican landscape — and will likely continue to do so with class in the days to come.