Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, one of the co-chairs for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Indiana campaign, is supporting the presidential candidate’s plan to suspend campaigning in the Hoosier State in order to prevent Donald Trump from securing the Republican nomination.
“Donald Trump can’t win in November,” Brainard said. “Polling shows he doesn’t perform well against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in Indiana or across the country. We need a Republican to win in the general election.”
In a plan announced on Sunday April 24, Kasich spoke with Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and they agreed that Kasich would focus his resources on the Oregon and New Mexico primaries and Cruz would focus on Indiana. Kasich said on Monday that he still is asking for people to vote for him in Indiana, but that he would be staying out of Cruz’s way. This is in an attempt to make sure Trump can’t earn the necessary delegates to clinch the nomination and that delegates would then conceivably select the GOP presidential candidate at the convention. As of April 25, Trump has 845 delegates, Cruz has 559 and Kasich has 148. A candidate needs to earn 1,237 delegates to secure the nomination. Some delegates are pledged and bound to the candidates while others can vote for whomever they please.
The question heading into Indiana’s May 3 primary is whether Kasich supporters will vote for Kasich, Cruz or even Trump.
BRAINARD SUPPORTS OPEN CONVENTION
Brainard was asked who Kasich supporters should vote for and he said, “When they go into the voting booth, they need to consider the fact that Donald Trump can’t win in a general election” but wouldn’t tell people who to vote for. When Brainard was asked who he was voting for, he said, “No comment.”
Kasich was schedule to visit Indiana on April 26 but has since canceled all Indiana events. Cruz visited Indianapolis on April 21, including a stop at Shapiro’s Deli. Trump drew a crowd of around 4,000 people at a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on April 20.
Brainard said he chose to support Kasich because he said he has the right tone to run a successful presidential campaign.
“He doesn’t attack his opponents,” he said.
Brainard said he’s also impressed with his resume, noting his executive experience in Ohio, his work on the balanced budget and his time on the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services committee.
“He reminds me a lot of (former Indiana Gov.) Mitch Daniels,” he said.
For Kasich to secure the nomination, the process would have to head to the convention and likely go to a second ballot since many delegates have to stay with their victorious candidates on the first ballot. In addition, the party would need to change the rules because right now a candidate has to win at least eight states to be considered for the party’s nominee. Brainard said he supports changing that rule. If that rule is changed though, it’s possible that a “White Knight” to enter the process who didn’t even run for president this year. National media have been floating names of politicians such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee in 2012. Brainard said he doesn’t think it’s likely that either jumps in, noting that both have declared that they aren’t interested.
Brainard noted that Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s first Republican president, wasn’t selected as his party’s nominee on the first ballot.
WHAT WILL KASICH SUPPORTERS DO?
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, political commentator and radio personality for WIBC, said he isn’t sure what will happen with Kasich supporters. He said he’s heard of two camps: grassroots supporters who are mad at Kasich for this decision and political party leaders who are disappointed but understand.
He said he isn’t sure if Kasich supporters will still vote for him or vote for Cruz in an attempt to block Trump. He said it’s possible some Kasich supporters could defect to Trump after this announcement.
“I could see any outcome happen and it wouldn’t surprise me,” he said.
Tony Katz, a conservative talk show host for WIBC and Carmel resident, said he thinks, based on polling, that Kasich supporters are the mostly likely to support another candidate. He said this election is truly about being for or against Trump and Indiana is playing a crucial role.
In the end, he thinks Kasich supporters will decided they can live with Cruz.
“Yes I think you will see them vote for Cruz in droves,” he said. “Voting for Kasich is a wasted vote.”
Although it should be noted that Indiana is an early voting state and some Kasich voters might have already cast their votes.
“If you’re someone who early voted, you’re infuriated because you just lost your vote,” Katz said.
“Yes I think you will see them vote for Cruz is droves,” he said.
One Carmel resident and one-time Kasich supporter, Denise Moe, tells Current in Carmel that she’s very upset by this deal that was struck and she won’t be voting for Cruz.
“I feel that Kasich and Cruz and opposite on many issues and it is offensive to me that Kasich would ask me to vote for Cruz,” she said. “When you only strategy is ‘how to beat the other guy’ and not ‘how you are going to improve our country,’ you have already lost. So many people, especially the people that voted early, are very disenfranchised and I think this sneaky deal, only perpetuates it.”
Moe said she still has a Kasich sign in her yard because she said she, “thought he was the only mature, reasonable moderate and I was proud of the way that he had conducted himself and his campaign.”
Moe attended Trump’s Indianapolis rally in order to find out more and she said she was happy to hear that Trump didn’t talk about social issues like abortion or gay marriage. She said she was “softening” on Trump but was eager to her Kasich live and had tickets to his event that was later canceled.
“However, when I learned about this latest ‘stunt’ I honestly felt, as a voter and as a supporter, insulted,” she said. “As a social moderate, I will never vote for Cruz, Cruz stands for many things that I am appalled by and I would never vote for him. I was looking forward to hearing Kasich in person and to solidify my 100 percent support for him, but now after this ‘trick,’ I am most likely voting for Trump.”