Right now, Rubio, who suspended his campaign on March 15, has 3,484,238 votes so far. Kasich, who continued past Super Tuesday to compete in Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin as well as the caucus states, has 2,983,432. The Florida senator’s departure hasn’t exactly been a shot of adrenaline for the Kasich campaign; he’s won 11 percent in Arizona, 17 percent in Utah, and 14 percent in Wisconsin. The Ohio hasn’t added a delegate since Super Tuesday.
When people ask why Kasich is largely an afterthought in discussions about who will win the GOP nomination, the easiest answer is that he’s still a half-million votes behind the guy who quit more than a month ago.
So far, 22 million Americans have cast ballots in the Republican presidential primary. New York votes today; fourteen more states have yet to vote, including high-population states like Pennsylvania (where 804,000 people voted in 2012) , Maryland (248,000 in 2012), Indiana (635,000), California (1.9 million) and New Jersey (227,000). With turnout in most states significantly higher than in 2012, it’s possible we could see 30 million Americans casting ballots in the GOP primary.
On paper, Kasich should have no problem making up that vote difference. The catch is that some of Rubio fans continue to cast ballots for him even after he departed the race. When he ended his campaign, Rubio had about 3.3 million votes – he’s picked up about 100,000 votes since ending his campaign, the biggest chunk, about 72,000, from Arizona, which had significant early voting.
Kasich should pass Rubio – if not on April 26, when Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island vote, then on May 3 when Indiana votes. If he’s still trailing after that, the governor can expect to hear a lot more jokes that he’s running fourth in a three-man race.