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Emotional John Kasich Ends His Presidential Campaign

Less than 24 hours after his campaign insisted he'd keep going, Kasich leaves Donald Trump alone in the Republican presidential race.

by Sarah Mimms
May 4 2016, 4:10pm

Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

From 17 candidates down to one: Donald Trump is now officially alone in the race to for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, who only won a single state (his own) in the entirety of the 2016 presidential contest, ended his campaign on Wednesday, in an emotional press conference in Columbus.

Speaking from a literal barn in his home town of Columbus, Ohio, Kasich gave a winding soliloquy thanking his family, campaign staff and most of all, his constituents from Ohio.

"The people of Ohio have given me the greatest professional experience of my lifetime," a tearful Kasich said.

He ended his speech, and bid for the presidency, by saying, "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."

The announcement came less than 24 hours after the Indiana primary, in which Trump routed both of his rivals. Senator Ted Cruz, who had far outpaced Kasich in the race, said Tuesday night that he would end his campaign because even he had no "viable path to victory."

But Kasich's campaign insisted Tuesday night that he was still in the race to win it and would continue his campaign until another candidate reached the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

Related: The 'Never Trump' Movement Won't Give Up Even Though Trump Won

By Wednesday morning, that calculus appeared to have changed. Kasich was scheduled to host a press conference at the Dulles airport, just outside of Washington, DC, just before noon. But he abruptly cancelled the event, leaving reporters standing around in an airport waiting for a candidate who wouldn't show, and announced that he would speak from his home state of Ohio at 5pm instead.

Kasich, a popular governor, never gained much traction in the presidential race. He consistently performed poorly in national polling of the candidates over the last year. He didn't the crack the top three — until there were only three candidates left.

In what became a two-man race late Tuesday night, Kasich was actually in fourth place. He has fewer delegates than Trump, Cruz and even Senator Marco Rubio, who ended his campaign back in March.

In a campaign dominated by an aggressive frontrunner who bullied other candidates and gave them nicknames like "Lyin' Ted" and "Little Marco," Kasich attempted to stand above the fray. He ran a largely positive campaign, often hugging supporters at his events and encouraging them in his speeches to reach out to one another and look after their neighbors.

Related: It's Over: Trump Zeroes In On Nomination, Cruz Drops Out After Indiana Loss

Clearly, the most frustrating factor for Kasich and his campaign was that every single national poll conducted since February showed him defeating Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general election. And yet, Trump and Cruz — who, the bulk of polling shows, would lose to Clinton in November — have dominated the race. Despite Kasich essentially shouting those numbers from the rooftops, Republican voters didn't seem to pay him any attention.

Perhaps, in an election year like 2016, literally shouting from the rooftops would have helped.

Follow Sarah Mimms on Twitter: @SarahMMimms