UPDATE: Clinton wins Ohio with over 60 percent of the vote.
UPDATE II: Kasich wins Ohio; it looks like we're heading into contested convention territory.
How he won:
Wasserman's colleague Nate Silver ponders what Kasich should do next:
Kasich needs a contested convention to win, so what does he do next? One answer is to stay out of Cruz’s way. That might mean focusing on northeastern states such as New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, where Cruz has little chance to win but Kasich has strong favorability ratings.
Wisconsin, which votes April 5, could be a trickier call because the state’s delegates are awarded winner-take-all (some by congressional district and some based on the statewide vote). It’s easy enough to imagine both Kasich and Cruz finding pockets of support in Wisconsin, but Trump winning the state with 40 percent of the vote while Kasich and Cruz have 30 percent each.
UPDATE III: Kasich delivered his victory speech with tons of confetti:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich offered very kind words to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in his victory speech tonight. After 29 primary contests, Kasich finally won his home state, which proved to be a critical battle concerning denying Donald Trump the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.
Kasich touted his record as governor, where he said under his tenure 400,000 jobs were created, the state is experiencing a $2 billion surplus, the pensions are secure, they’ve cut taxes, and they’re not leaving anyone behind–not the working poor or the mentally ill.
He said that his whole life has been about creating a climate of opportunity for people, and that it’s very rewarding to have people believe in you, to bring people together, and to move our country forward. He said that we’re Americans before we’re Democrats and Republicans, and that the spirit of the country rests in us, not some big time politician. Instead, he likened the country to a mosaic. He also cited how common sense conservative solutions can produce results.
Of course, he thanked the people of the great state of Ohio for his win.
Yet, there’s this notion that some on Team Kasich will have to contend with–and it’s not particularly good:
There will be a lot of attention paid to Ohio and Florida tonight, as Donald Trump looks to deliver deathblows to the presidential campaigns of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). The contests are winner-take-all tonight, which means that if Trump is able to clinch all of the Buckeye State’s 66 delegates, with Florida’s 99; there’s little stopping him from becoming the 2016 nominee for the Republican Party (via Charlie Cook):
If Kasich holds Ohio, which is his home state, the delegate climb for Trump gets very steep. Trump has won 44 percent of all delegates selected so far. Imagine a straight, diagonal line from zero delegates in the bottom left corner at the beginning of the race, up to the number 1,237 in the upper right corner, the barest majority that secures a nomination. Every week, take a look and see if Trump is above or below that trajectory to the magic number. A Trump loss in the Buckeye State would lift the share of the remaining delegates that he would need to win to almost 60 percent, a very improbable challenge. So Trump really needs Ohio. Should Rubio pull out a win Florida, where polls show a very close race, and Kasich loses Ohio, Trump would be in the same predicament. If Trump wins both, the Republican Party better get used to the idea of having the real estate mogul and reality-TV star as its nominee.
Right now, FiveThirtyEight has given Kasich an 80 percent chance of winning his state’s primary, while reiterating Cook’s observation that if Trump loses Ohio, he won’t be able to reach that magic number of 1,237.
One wild card in this contest is that Rubio’s communications director basically said that Rubio supporters should vote for Kasich in Ohio to stop Trump. Although Rubio’s numbers have fallen in the state over the past few weeks, any Rubio fans moving into the Kasich column could make a big difference. The importance of this primary to the larger Republican race is difficult to overstate. According to my math (and that of Republican Benjamin Ginsberg, who basically wrote the GOP’s delegate rules), Trump is unlikely to reach a majority of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination if he loses Ohio.
So, for anti-Trump Republicans, Kasich is your last hope to stop Trump. You may still be furious that he decided to prop up President Obama’s health care law by expanding Medicaid, but Mr. Kasich is better positioned than Rubio to hit the brakes on Trumpmentum. If Rubio somehow manages to win Florida and Kasich loses Ohio, Trump faces the same problem with the delegate math. In the highly unlikely scenario that Rubio and Kasich win their home states, then the blood sports continue, with renewed energy for the Florida senator’s campaign. The primary map for Rubio becomes more favorable as we enter April, but first things first; let’s see how he does in Florida. And Kasich is probably going to end up the anti-Trump hero for the night.