Kasich claims second place with strong finish in NH

Kasich claims second place with strong finish in NH
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John Kasich took second place in the New Hampshire GOP presidential primary on Tuesday, besting several rivals in a tough battle for momentum.
 
ABC News called Kasich's second-place finish at about 9 p.m., an hour after polls closed. Other networks, including MSNBC and Fox News, followed suit moments later.
 
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“Governor Kasich is now the leading governor in the race and the only one with a realistic chance at the nomination,” Senior Strategist John Weaver said.
 
“He showed that a conservative with a positive message will succeed and, in fact, that’s the only way for Republicans to win the White House. As the governor of Ohio he knows how to do it.”
 
The Ohio governor had pinned his hopes on the Granite State. 
 
He was battling with Bush, Rubio and Chris Christie in the establishment lane of the race.
 
Kasich’s second-place finish will give him a boost going into the next round of state elections and could keep him in the race until his home state’s primary March 15. 
 
The Ohio governor needed a strong performance in New Hampshire after coming in eighth place in last week’s Iowa caucuses, with less than 2 percent.
 
Last month, Kasich himself conceded that he would drop out if he did poorly in the New Hampshire primary. 
 
 "If I get smoked in New Hampshire, then you know, kind of, the ballgame is over ... because then it becomes very hard to raise money," he said at the time.
 
After a strong third-place finish in last week’s Iowa caucuses, Rubio had spiked in New Hampshire polls and was seen as having momentum going into the primary.
 
But the Florida senator’s poll numbers tumbled amid a heavily criticized performance at Saturday’s GOP debate. Rubio was described as overly scripted and was particularly mocked for repetitive criticisms of President Obama.
 
- Updated at 9:26 p.m.