CLEVELAND (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich once envisioned a scenario where he would swoop into the party's convention and seize the Republican presidential nomination from Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, Kasich came to Cleveland but stayed away from the convention.
Two months after dropping out of the GOP race, the governor is openly boycotting the Trump coronation in his home state.
As the convention rolled on, Kasich met privately with state delegations and headlined a state party reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, about a mile from the convention site at Quicken Loans Arena.
Kasich avoided mentioning Trump at the event, instead using his brief remarks to contrast Trump's blunt, populist views with the theme of his own campaign: unity and uplift.
"The message for me was never about rhetoric," Kasich told a crowd of about 2,000. "There's no way I would enter a race for president just to win an election."
Kasich's distance and his refusal to endorse Trump didn't sit well with some of the party faithful in attendance.
"I'm pretty upset with John Kasich," said Gene DiFabio. "If Kasich is a Republican, his goal should be to get a Republican in the White House, and he's not doing anything to help that goal."
Ohio is one of the biggest prizes in the presidential election and almost certainly a must-win for Trump. Ohio, worth 18 electoral votes, has been carried by every winning candidate for president since 1964.
In another veiled reference to Trump, Kasich told the Hall of Fame crowd that he dropped out of the race when he thought his only path to victory would be telling people "things that I didn't think were true."
It's rare for a governor to skip his party's convention when it's in his home state, but Kasich said earlier this week that he wouldn't show up unless Trump "changes everything that he says."
"We can't be attacking Muslims and Hispanics, and trying to shut down trade, and not caring about the debt," Kasich told NBC. "Those are all problems for me."