Ohio Gov. John Kasich is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to multiple reports shortly after he canceled a campaign event in Virginia and said he would make an announcement at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Kasich's move came hours after losing Tuesday's Indiana primary.
He vowed Tuesday night that he would remain in the race in hopes of securing a victory in the event that "presumptive nominee" Donald Trump was unable to secure the 1,237 delegates he needed to win the GOP nomination.
Kasich's press appearance, scheduled for 10:45 a.m., was canceled at about 11:30 a.m., with Fox News announcing that he'd opted to hold an event back home in Columbus, Ohio.
Fox News' Rich Edson, shortly after noon, reported that the network had confirmed Kasich would announce his decision to drop out at a 5 p.m. press conference.
The campaign had vowed to fight on, said Edson, "but it became clear to them in the last few hours that that wasn't a strategy they can move forward with, and Donald Trump would likely end up with the 1,237 votes he needed and there would be no point in going to convention, no point to continue campaigning."
Tuesday night, the governor's campaign said in a lengthy Facebook
statement that its strategy had been "and continues to be one that involves winning the nomination at an open convention.
"The comments from Trump, on the verge of winning in Indiana, heighten the differences between Governor Kasich and his positive, inclusive approach and the disrespectful ramblings from Donald Trump" the statement said. "Gov. Kasich will remain in the race unless a candidate reaches 1,237 bound delegates before the Convention."
Earlier on Wednesday, before rescheduling his press announcement, Kasich's campaign posted a video on Twitter in celebration of Star Wars Day and imagining what the future could hold for the United States if Trump became the nominee.
The news about Kasich broke just hours after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suspended his campaign, and although the governor hasn't made his announcement official, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus effectively sounded the death knell on the Ohio leader's presidential hopes by declaring Trump as the "presumptive nominee" after the New York real estate tycoon swept the Indiana primary on Tuesday.
Kasich was known in his campaign for his positive view and refusal to launch attack salvos on Trump, Cruz, or other candidates, even in recent weeks as the two top candidates eviscerated each other on countless television shows.
Even on Tuesday, as Indiana voters went to the polls, Trump was recounting a story from The National Enquirer that accused Cruz's father, Rafael, of being involved with John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and Cruz was calling Trump a "pathological liar."
Kasich, reported The New York Times
, continued to insist he was the only candidate who could defeat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton or challenger Bernie Sanders come November.
He also engaged in a last-minute deal with Cruz, agreeing to back out of competing in Indiana to allow Cruz a more clear shot at Trump.
Kasich, though, had said he'd hold on in hopes of winning at a contested convention. However, Priebus said Wednesday morning, before the news that Kasich was to drop out, that he expected Trump would get the 1,237 delegates he'd need to remain in the race.
Kasich had scheduled fundraisers in the Washington. D.C., for Wednesday, reports CNN
His plane was on the runway at the Columbus airport when he made his decision and returned to the gate.
He called four close friends, and told them, "My heart is not in this," one source told CNN's Gloria Borger.
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