Standing alone in a barn at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio, Gov. John Kasich suspended his longshot presidential campaign.
Kasich was not joined at the podium by his wife and daughters, but praised them and stressed that he was looking forward to being able to spend more time with his family.
He spent much of the speech thanking supporters who traveled and knocked on doors for his grass-roots campaign.
“I would show up places and there were people I knew, and I was like why are you here — but they were believers,” he said.
Kasich reminisced on visiting “beautiful, beautiful towns in New Hampshire… when we hit our 100th town hall, it was remarkable.”
“We moved from New Hampshire in the far east all the way to the excitement of California, even being able to sit in traffic in Los Angeles,” he said. Pundits and campaign observers, he added, “didn’t think I could make any debate — made all 13 of them, in fact, won a couple of them.”
He brought the address back to his governorship, noting “the people of Ohio have given me the greatest professional experience of a lifetime.”
He reminisced on sentimental stories from the campaign trail, including his February hug of a student at a Clemson University town hall in South Carolina.
“The spirit and the heart of America lies in the heart and soul of us,” Kasich said. “It isn’t sexy; it isn’t a great sound bite.”
“Throughout my campaign I have said that the Lord may have another purpose for me and it sent all the pundits atwitter… it showed to some degree how little they understand about life,” the governor continued.
“As I suspend my campaign I have renewed faith — deeper faith — that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose for my life.”
Kasich left the podium without taking any questions and without mentioning Donald Trump.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who endorsed Kasich and now may be wooed by Trump in the hope that he’ll deliver the swing state, said he “was proud to support John Kasich’s campaign because I believe in him and have seen firsthand the positive results of his leadership and sound policies in Ohio.”
“Today, families in Ohio have more hope and opportunity thanks to John’s leadership, and I believe he would lift up our nation as president,” Portman said in a statement. “I know he will continue to make progress in Ohio as our governor. I look forward to continuing to be his partner in the U.S. Senate in creating more and better jobs for Ohio.”