Court Battle

Kasich Calls on Rubio to Tell Pennsylvania Supporters to Drop Suit

The Ohio governor is battling to stay on the ballot in his neighboring state.

Photographer: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

John Kasich's presidential campaign called on Marco Rubio to tell his supporters in Pennsylvania to drop a lawsuit that could keep the Ohio governor off the ballot for the state's April 26 primary.

Nathaniel Rome, chairman of Pennsylvania Students for Rubio, filed a petition in Pennsylvania court to keep Kasich off the ballot, since he failed to garner the requisite number of signatures to be added. Rome's lawyer is John Bravacos, the brother of Chris Bravacos, who is chairman of Rubio's Pennsylvania campaign.

"Senator Rubio should tell his people to drop this suit and to have his super-PAC quit attacking John Kasich in Florida," Kasich campaign spokesman Rob Nichols told Bloomberg Politics.

In a telephone interview, John Bravacos declined to say whether he has been in contact with Rubio's campaign or his brother about the lawsuit. The Rubio campaign could not be immediately reached for comment.

Rome filed a lawsuit in February alleging that Kasich had invalid signatures on his petition to be on the ballot, and therefore did not meet the threshold of the 2,000 signatures required. A three-judge panel is expected to rule on the matter in the coming weeks. 

Nichols said the campaign is "100 percent certain" Kasich will be on the ballot in Pennsylvania. "What is far from certain is whether Senator Rubio will even continue to be a candidate for president by the time this is resolved in our favor next week," Nichols said.

Nichols argued that the campaign turned in 2,184 signatures to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, who certified the submission. "If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for us," Nichols said.

Kasich is hinging hopes of his presidential campaign on winning northern Rust Belt states, including his home state of Ohio, which votes in a winner-take-all-primary on Tuesday. He is leading in the polls there  against delegate front-runner Donald Trump.

Kasich is unlikely to pass Trump in the delegate count, but he hopes to be a contender if the Republican Party has a contested convention this summer -- which could happen if  Trump doesn't obtain the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. 

"Trump can't be stopped in terms of his lead, but he might not get the delegates threshold. That means big states like Pennsylvania will determine how close he gets and those states take on a new importance," said G. Terry Madonna, a Republican pollster and public affairs professor at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

Rubio, who is polling in single digits in Ohio, urged his supporters in the Buckeye State to back Kasich to keep Trump from winning the state and its 66 delegates. Kasich, however, didn't reciprocate by urging his supporters in Florida to vote for Rubio.

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