Baltimore Sun endorses Kasich in GOP primary
© Greg Nash

The Baltimore Sun endorsed John Kasich on Monday, one day before Maryland's Republican presidential primary.

"Maryland Republicans well understand how to elect a leader who can attract support from independent and Democratic voters," the newspaper's editors wrote.

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"They did it in 2014 when they picked Larry Hogan, and the governor's willingness to stick to a pro-business, fiscally conservative message — and to sidestep divisive issues and compromise at times — has made him broadly popular." 

The editorial said that of the remaining GOP candidates, Kasich comes closest to following Hogan's formula. It added that Kasich has addressed issues more "rationally than his more flamboyant opponents."

The Sun rejected labeling Kasich as a moderate, noting the Ohio governor's actions on abortion, such as denying funding to Planned Parenthood and requiring that women seeking abortions undergo ultrasounds.

It also criticized some of his positions, saying that his "record on executive clemency is poor, and his desire to enforce the federal prohibition on marijuana in states that have legalized the drug is misguided, as are his attacks on collective bargaining, including a law restricting the rights of public employees such as teachers and police, a measure that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in his state."  

But compared to his opponents, the newspaper said Kasich has offered "genuine statesmanship." Rivals Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcConnell faces GOP pushback on debt deal Democrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China GOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' MORE and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE have not shown they have a temperament or skills to be president, it said.

It also touted Kasich's poll numbers in head-to-head match ups with the Democratic candidates and slammed the other candidates.

"It should come as no surprise that polls have consistently shown that Mr. Kasich has a better chance of winning in November than the vulgarian New York developer with a frighteningly poor grasp of foreign policy or the Princeton debater and preposterous Ronald Reagan poseur with a demonstrated inability to work with others, Democratic or Republican, and who promises more of the same if elected," the piece said.

The editorial called on Maryland voters to reject Trump, noting his candidacy could "not only doom the party's Senate majority, it might even tip the balance in the House."

Maryland voters will go to the polls on Tuesday. Trump has a 14-point lead in the state over Kasich, 41 to 27 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.