Kasich Boasts About Finish in 2016 Primary: 'I Won My Lane'

February 12, 2019

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R.), who finished fourth in the delegate count in the 2016 Republican primary, boasted on CNN Tuesday about winning his "lane" during the presidential race.

Kasich, now a senior political commentator with the network and sharp critic of President Donald Trump, discussed the presidential prospects of former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas), who gained national popularity during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

"You don't just run for president. It's very, very difficult," Kasich said. "Takes a lot of time. It's excruciatingly hard. But at the same time, it can be an incredibly great experience."

CNN anchor Kate Bolduan noted Kasich ran in the crowded 2016 Republican field and asked what lessons he took away from the experience.

"For me, what I learned in the campaign, is first of all, I won my lane. The only person who beat me in New Hampshire was Donald Trump, so that was a pretty good win," he said, citing the state where he finished runner-up with about 16 percent of the primary vote. "But when I went down to South Carolina, we didn't get any coverage. No one knew who I was in the south, so I had very little name ID, and the states were so big, and I couldn't break through."

He went on to say a campaign was about getting people to know whether you cared about them. The former governor said in November he was "very seriously" considering a run for the presidency in 2020, either as a primary challenger to Trump or as an independent.

Kasich won one primary in 2016: Ohio, the state where he served two terms as governor. Although Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) dropped out of the race in mid-March, he finished with more delegates than Kasich, who stayed in until after Trump was declared the presumptive nominee.

Kasich was also endorsed by theĀ New York Times.