John Kasich is walking a tightrope toward an equally precarious future at the Republican National Convention.
The Republican underdog, who has won 37 delegates so far and zero state primaries, is relying on his popularity in Tuesday’s Michigan primary and a victory in next week’s primary in his home state of Ohio. Strong showings in both Midwestern states would put the candidate’s campaign on life support for a little longer.
For Kasich to have any shot at the presidency, he’d have to keep his campaign alive until the Republican National Convention, where the potential for a brokered convention provides a chance for the underdog to end up on a ticket. That’s the Ohio governor’s goal, according to Politico.
To get to the convention, Kasich will have to prove himself as the next-best alternative to Trump in Michigan, where polls show the Republican frontrunner has a double-digit lead over the rest of the field. (To Kasich’s credit, he’s gained 21% of likely voters’ support in a poll released on Monday, putting him just two points behind Ted Cruz and 15 behind Trump.)
Then, in Ohio, he’d have to not just lose admirably, but win. He laid it out recently to The New York Times: “Do I want to do well in Michigan? Of course I do,” he said. “I’m going to Ohio, O.K.? Let’s not be confused. And I’m going to win Ohio. End of story.” In the most recent Ohio poll, Trump has a slim, three-point lead over Kasich.
Even if Kasich wins Ohio, though, the convention will still be four months away and the governor’s primary losses will continue to pile up.