Editors Note: The Collegian sent two editors to Las Vegas, Nevada to cover the Republican and Democratic caucuses before the campaigns come to Colorado on March 1. This piece is part of a series of articles produced during the five days they spent traveling in and around Sin City. Follow the Collegian for continuous coverage of the 2016 election.
In the next few days, all of the Republican presidential candidates will be spending a lot of time in Nevada, rallying support in the first state to vote with a large Hispanic population.
Except John Kasich.
Instead of hosting rallies, phone banks or a watch party in the swing state, the Ohio governor will be hosting town hall meetings with supporters in Virginia and Georgia. Both of those states will host their primaries March 1, or Super Tuesday.
After his second-place finish in New Hampshire, Kasich hosted town hall events around South Carolina before the primary, but spent the day of up north in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Kasich placed fifth in the South Carolina primary Saturday, which is about where polls suggested he would fall. After his loss, Kasich said he plans to turn his focus to the 12 states that will vote March 1 and Michigan, which holds the primary March 8.
“I didn’t play in South Carolina and we’re going to go on March 1 to a number of states where we’re going to do well. It’s a matter of continuing on,” Kasich said in an article for Politico. “And we’re going to keep struggling to make sure that we can be out there, keep putting the resources out there to be in a position to do well.”
Kasich argued that his campaign just has to hold out until the elections in March where he hopes to fair better, similar to Sen. Bernie Sanders view that his campaign just needs to continue gaining traction.
“I don’t have to win these places, I just have to hang in there and continue to gain momentum,” Kasich said in the Politico article. “We’re the engine that can. Everybody ought to just relax on this.”
Polls suggest Kasich will get about 7 percent of the vote in Nevada, compared to GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s 40 points in the polls. Rubio is polling at 19 points, one point behind Cruz.
Kasich’s overall presence in Nevada is lacking. He has five staffers in the entire state and a single campaign office located in Las Vegas.
Kasich seems to have a slim chance to take Nevada, so it makes sense as to why he chose to spend his time campaigning in other states. Kasich promised voters he was not going anywhere any time soon, and shows it by making Michigan a priority for campaigning in the next few days even though they do not vote until March 8.
According to a recent poll by American Research Group, Kasich is polling second in Michigan with 17 percent. Trump is polling first with 35 percent and Cruz and Rubio fall behind Kasich with about 12 percent each.
On Feb. 19, Amy Tarkanian, former chair of the Nevada Republican Party, announced her endorsement for Kasich, showing further support for the candidate in the Silver State.
“I’m proud to support a leader with a record of results,” Tarkanian said in a press release from the Kasich campaign. “John Kasich is a problem-solver with a clear vision of what it takes to turn our economy around and help Americans get ahead.”
So while the remaining Republican candidates plan to spend the next few days focusing on Nevada before Super Tuesday, Kasich will be skipping the state and focusing on the future of his campaign.
Collegian News Editor Sady Swanson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @sadyswan.