Ohio Gov. John Kasich will go to Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, but might not even step inside Quicken Loans Arena during the entire week of festivities marking Donald Trump’s anticipated presidential nomination.
“He will be in Cleveland doing events around the convention, but not necessarily inside the building,” said spokesman Chris Schrimpf, who said a decision about attending would be by Kasich’s own choice.
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Kasich spoke at the party’s 2012 convention in Tampa, Fla., and the 1996 convention in San Diego, Calif. But even if Kasich does step foot within the convention hall, it doesn’t guarantee time on the big stage, highly unusual for the governor of a host city.
Trump said in a recent New York Times interview he wouldn’t invite Kasich or fellow ex-presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to speak at the convention without their endorsements.
“If there’s no endorsement, then I would not invite them to speak,” Trump told the Times.
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But without seeing a “road to Damascus” conversion from Trump, Schrimpf said, a Kasich endorsement is unlikely.
That doesn’t seem to concern Kasich, who hasn’t “spent much time thinking about” a speaking spot, his spokesman told this newspaper.
“What’s important to the governor is the party nominee tries to bring the party together and has an uplifting message that solves problems,” Schrimpf said. “Whether or not that means he does or does not speak at the convention doesn’t matter, that’s not what his focus is.”
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Kasich, a former 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will host events in Cleveland for other Republican candidates such as incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is in a close re-election fight with former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
The convention is the first in Ohio since 1936.
Schrimpf said Kasich is focused “on his official duties of making sure everything is safe and peaceful.”
“Beyond that, he will be attending events in and around Cleveland to help support Senate candidates and House candidates and governors and all those sorts of people that Republicans have to win up and down the ballot.”
“If the person at the top gets wiped out it gets harder, which is why the governor is working so hard for Rob Portman and the other candidates across the ballot,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
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