Sitting in the coveted second-place spot as votes continued to roll in for the crowded New Hampshire Republican primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich Tuesday night presented himself as a compassionate alternative in what has become a negative campaign.
Though he was well behind Donald Trump in the first-in-the-nation primary, Kasich said he saw the results as a sign that “the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning.”
A strong finish could help Kasich gather momentum as he moves on to other primary states.
Kasich, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee and a moderate conservative, described “magic in the air with this campaign.”
“In this campaign, I’ve become convinced even more about what it takes to win a political campaign and what it takes for somebody to be a leader,” he said. “It’s not just what’s up here in the head, it’s also what’s deep in here in the heart.”
Kasich, who said via Twitter he would head to South Carolina to continue his primary bid, saved some tough talk for the Democratic candidates for president.
He said he believed Sanders would speak Tuesday night until he turned 77 (Sanders is 74), and urged Hillary Clinton to move on because her campaign hadn’t worked in New Hampshire.
“It’s not going to work here for them next fall,” Kasich said, “because I’m coming back to New Hampshire.”
Kasich, a former Lehman Brothers employee and nine-term House member, has stood back from joining attacks on his Republican opponents, priding himself on his “positive campaign” efforts, but he still has taken at least a few shots at Democrats.