“Well, I don’t play for second.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich boldly claimed to the crowd at a town hall event today in Nashua, New Hampshire.
No Republican nominee has ever won the presidency without carrying the swing-state of Ohio.
Kasich questioned whether we want a nominee who can guarantee victory in pivotal Ohio or simply hope for victory.
Sitting at 1.8% nationally and 9% in New Hampshire in average polling collected by RealClearPolitics makes Kasich quite the long shot.
It may not be Kasich’s first choice, but if the projections hold and Kasich’s nomination bid falls short – one must admit he is a highly attractive running mate.
Couple Kasich carrying Ohio with Rubio on the front-end of the ticket carrying the other major swing state of Florida and the electoral math starts to get interesting.
Barack Obama won 332 to 206 against Mitt Romney in 2012. Both Ohio and Florida went blue in close races.
Hold the Romney states and flip those two states for Rubio/Kasich and all of a sudden the GOP finds itself with 253 just 17 electoral votes shy of the Oval Office and a very plausible path to victory.
According to 270towin.com's projections that scenario would still leave 68 electoral votes in the battleground category, with the Republicans needing 17 of them to win. This could be delivered by one state like Pennsylvania or by a combination of 2 or 3 states out of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia.
RealClearPolitics General Election Polling currently showcases Rubio as the strongest Republican against Clinton or Sanders.
Sources have even leaked that Rubio is the candidate the Clinton camp fears the most.
The Rubio/Kasich ticket has inherent electoral map advantages.
But even aside from that the two seem to make an attractive pair.
Rubio rode the Tea Party wave to the Senate in 2010 and Heritage Action, a conservative activist group, ranks Rubio as the 4th most conservative senator scoring him at 94% well above their senate Republican average of 59%. He has clear potential to appeal to the conservative base.
Kasich, though not really an Establishment Republican, certainly takes much more moderate positions. He is possibly the one Republican in the race who acknowledges the severity of climate change, along with taking much more moderate positions on marriage equality and immigration than his GOP colleagues.
The ticket has the potential to be bridge-builders with independents and conservative Democrats without necessarily isolating the conservative base.
There is certainly work to be done to make this ticket a reality.
But Rubio/Kasich 2016 is a winning formula.