Ohio Gov. John Kasich has won fewer delegates to the GOP national convention than a guy who suspended his campaign more than a month ago (Marco Rubio), but he's still standing, and is busy trying to convince Pennsylvania Republicans he's the most electable candidate left.
"I'm the only one who wins," Kasich said Thursday in a discussion with reporters and editors of The Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. "I win in the fall - 15 polls in a row. If it was one, I'd say, 'Well....' "
He was referring to a string of public opinion surveys that show he would fare better against Democrat Hillary Clinton than either developer Donald J. Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Kasich spoke with the editorial boards as he was campaigning in the state ahead of Tuesday's primary. Polls show Trump with a large lead in Pennsylvania, and Kasich and Cruz in a tight battle behind him.
The Ohio governor, who as chairman of the U.S. House budget committee in the 1990s helped engineer a balanced federal budget, is selling his depth of experience at governing in a year when many voters seem in open revolt against government and politicians themselves.
He also grew up in McKees Rocks, a working-class suburb of Pittsburgh. and has the support of prominent GOP leaders, including former governors Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge. But he acknowledged it's been tough to raise money when your path to victory depends on rising to the top at a contested convention.
"Frankly we don't have a hell of a lot of resources, ok?" Kasich said. "I mean if you took a look at how much I've spent and raised and looked at these other folks, it's like 50 to 1.... You can't spend the money if you don't have it at all."
He said he did not know how many of the state's 54 congressional-district delegates, who are officially unbound to a candidate at the convention and run individually, might be Kasich supporters. But he has met with some of the 170 delegate candidates, on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
"I told them I could win, and here's who I am and ask me any question you want," Kasich said. Many wanted to know what his "path" was to getting the nomination, he said.
"Somebody said 'Did you get money from Soros?'" Kasich recalled, a reference to billionaire George Soros, a liberal activist and Democratic donor who heads a group advocating for policies to ease climate change.
Many GOP politicos do not believe there is proof that human activity causes the planet to warm, though Kasich does. He said he stressed to the delegate, however, that he did not get money from Soros - but rather, a former employee in the billionaire's company.
A donor, that is, "who's a conservative," Kasich said.