CLEVELAND — John Kasich’s campaign announced new hires Tuesday night it hopes will help the Ohio governor at a potential contested GOP convention this summer.
Kasich’s camp brought on Stu Spencer, who was the chief political strategist to President Gerald Ford and played a central role in helping Ford secure the Republican nomination at the Kansas City Convention in 1976, the party’s last contested convention. He also served as chief political strategist to President Ronald Reagan’s California gubernatorial campaigns in 1966 and 1970 and presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984.
Veteran political GOP operative Charlie Black was also announced by the Kasich camp. Black advised President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush. He also served as the senior political adviser for Sen. John McCain‘s presidential campaign.
Black told The Weekly Standard he believes a regular patter happens with Republican presidential campaigns. “The natural flow of the race narrows the field to two candidates after the first few primaries.”
Former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber and Tennessee political operative Tom Ingram round out the recent hires.
According to Reuters, Kasich’s advisers are looking at the 1940 GOP convention, when Wendell Willkie won the Republican nomination. Three other candidates, all short of having a majority of delegate support, were ahead of Wilkie going into the convention, but after after six ballots, delegates in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan defected from other candidates and threw their support to Willkie, handing him the win.
“The rules committee will be all powerful,” Kasich’s top campaign strategist, John Weaver, explained to the Columbus Dispatch.
“This [a contested convention] happened eight times before in American history, and six times the people who had the most delegates didn’t win their party’s nomination,” Weaver said.
“Governor Kasich showed tonight how you defeat Donald Trump and bring our party together,” Weaver later said in a statement. “This is going to be a long road to the nomination in Cleveland, and we’re thrilled to grow our team of advisers with some of the best minds in the Republican Party.”
Kasich’s campaign is betting that any previous support for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign Tuesday night, will break 3:1 for him over the remaining candidates.
“The electoral map shifting significantly in our favor. Gov. Kasich is positioned to accumulate a large share of the almost 1,000 remaining delegates and enter Cleveland in strong position to become the nominee,” the Kasich campaign said in a statement.