‘God has a purpose for me:’ Gov. John Kasich suspends presidential campaign

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced the suspension of his presidential campaign Wednesday evening in Columbus.

He kept his remarks short, but thanked his wife, his two daughters, his staff and the hundreds of volunteers who supported his presidential run. The governor also reflected on a few people he met along the campaign trail.

"I have always said God has a purpose for me, as he does for everyone," Kasich said moments before officially suspending his bid for the White House. "Thank you and God bless."

While he acknowledged his campaign never had the funds to compete, he stayed positive about his impact on the race.

"They didn't think I could make a debate; I made all 13 of them. Even won a few," Kasich said with a smile.

The Ohio governor also had a few words of warning for other politicians, saying, "Economic growth can be achieved by public officials, if they do their jobs." He said those in office shouldn't pay attention to polls.

After the news broke earlier on Wednesday, Donald Trump said Kasich is "doing the right thing" by dropping out of the presidential race, adding that he is interested in vetting the Ohio governor as a potential running mate.

"That's good. That's good. You're just telling me that for the first time," Trump said when CNN's Wolf Blitzer relayed the news of Kasich's decision, which CNN confirmed during the interview.

Kasich has been critical of Trump's rhetoric and many of his proposals on the campaign trail, but Trump insisted that he has "a very good relationship with John."

"I think John will be very helpful with Ohio," Trump said of Kasich and his home state, which will once again be a battleground state in November's general election.

Kasich's decision to drop out now leaves Trump with an entirely unobstructed path to the Republican nomination after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out Tuesday night.

GOP Convention spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski told FOX 8, "The convention staff will begin working with the Trump campaign to bring them up to speed on the months of planning that's been happening in Cleveland so we can unite and make the convention a success for the Republican Party and nominee."

The Republican National Convention will be held July 18 to 21 in Cleveland.

The general election, Trump said, has "essentially" begun.

Continuing coverage on the presidential race here

More on John Kasich here

Jen Steer May 4, 20164:56 pm

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has arrived at the venue. He’s expected to speak at 5 p.m.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:00 pm

Packed house with media. A few dozen Kasich supporters now in the back of the room.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:06 pm

The governor’s family takes the front row of seats. Almost time to begin.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:06 pm

Applause as Kasich enters the room.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:08 pm

Gov. Kasich thanks his wife, Karen, and his two daughters for their support.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:09 pm

“No one has done more with less than our staff has done,” Kasich says of his staff.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:10 pm

“I would show up places and go, ‘Why are you here?'” Kasich says of his volunteers traveling around the country to campaign.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:11 pm

Kasich says they were probably outspent by 50 to 1. “We never had the money.”

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:12 pm

Kasich continues thanking his staff

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:13 pm

“I will never forget the people of New Hampshire,” Kasich says of the beautiful cities and town halls during the campaign.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:13 pm

“They didn’t think I could make a debate, I made all 13 of them. Even won a few of them,” Kasich says.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:14 pm

“The people of Ohio have given me the greatest professional experience of my lifetime,” Kasich says.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:14 pm

“Ohio is a special place.” 

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:15 pm

“The people of our country changed me, they changed me with the stories of their lives,” Gov. John Kasich says.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:18 pm

“For whatever reason, God gave me the grace for people to feel comfortable… And they came to these town halls and it was absolutely magic,” Kasich says.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:19 pm

“Economic growth can be achieved by public officials if they do their jobs.” He says they need to ignore polls and not care about reelection.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:20 pm

Kasich says there needs to be a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, that this country need to be fixed from the bottom up.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:21 pm

John Kasich now speaking about helping others. Says it opens us up to the things we need help with. 

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:22 pm

Kasich usually doesn’t write his speeches out of use notes. Today, he’s actually reading and looking down at the podium.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:23 pm

“I have always said that God has a purpose for me, as he has for everyone.” He officially announces he is suspending his campaign.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:24 pm

“Thank you and God bless.” That concluded his remarks.

Jen Steer May 4, 20165:24 pm

Kasich has already left the room. A much shorter speech than we are used to from the Ohio governor.