Fresh off his strongest debate performance yet, Ohio Governor John Kasich took to the main stage at CPAC to address the possibility of a brokered GOP convention in Cleveland.
“In 1976, there was almost a brokered convention,” Kasich began, “and it was at that time that I got to meet Ronald Reagan.”
Telling the story of his experiences getting Reagan on the ballot, Kasich explained how he would knock on doors in the middle of the night to ask strangers to sign a ballot toward that goal.
“The fact is we did get him on the ballot, and I was at the convention with Governor Reagan,” Kasich said. “He lost that convention, but I was also up there when he told people that although he may have lost the battle, he did not lose the war.”
Reagan would come back four years later and win, of course, even though – as Kasich said – the establishment never liked him, “just as they never liked me.”
“It’s because we’re change agents, that’s why,” he said. “We want to bring change to the way this country works, and we don’t take orders from lobbyist or special interests on K Street.”
Mirroring his focus in Thursday night’s Fox News debate, Kasich kept his CPAC address centered around his resume as an agent of positive change, likening his rise to that of President Reagan.
“Balanced budgets, economic growth, common sense regulations,” he said, “and this is why Reagan came and campaigned for me in Ohio in 1982. I was running on Reagan’s ideology, which made me the only Republican in America to defeat an incumbent Democrat, and I did it by running on a conservative message.”
His message at CPAC, therefore, would appear to be a direct rebuke of his current status as the “moderate” candidate on the ballot, with Kasich continually citing his conservative credentials and history with Reagan.
As for the possibility of a victory for the Ohio Governor, Kasich was aware of the upward slope ahead of him.
“After I win in Ohio, I have to win 68 percent of the delegates to get the nomination,” Kasich said. “It’s unlikely.”
“But finally the country is getting a taste of who I am,” he added. “And I do think it’s going to be a brokered convention.”
Check out Kasich’s full address, including an interview with Sean Hannity, here.
Evan Smith is a Staff Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @Evansmithreport.