UPDATE: 5:38 p.m. EDT -- In a speech Wednesday evening in Columbus, Ohio, Gov. John Kasich officially ended his campaign for president, thanking supporters and sounding grateful for the experience of traveling around the country in search of votes.
"The people of our country changed me ... with the stories of their lives," Kasich said.
He went on to talk about a young man in South Carolina who gave him a hug at a campaign event, and a father in New Hampshire who sought consolation because of a son dealing with cancer.
He also encouraged Americans to "reach out and help someone else," and urged Congress to focus more on solving problems rather than minding polls and focusing on politics.
Kasich also called for a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, asserting that such a measure would "force Congress to do their job."
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 4, 2016
Kasich also thanked his campaign staff, saying "Nobody has ever done more with less, in the history of politics."
Despite much praise along the way for town hall meetings that seemed to build a bond with attendees, Kasich was never able to catch fire at the primary polls, winning only in his home state.
But he said he felt he succeeded in creating a positive image of Ohio in the rest of the country.
"Ohio is a special place and I expect we're going to have more visits," he said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to suspend his presidential campaign Wednesday, leaving Donald Trump as the only Republican left in the 2016 race, various news outlets reported.
The news comes just hours after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also suspended his presidential bid and after Trump trounced both his rivals in the Indiana primary Tuesday night, taking all of the state’s delegates. With just Trump left running, he will now be the presumptive GOP nominee.
Kasich had previously scheduled a press conference early Wednesday but canceled that event to make a statement Wednesday night. The Ohio governor had not won any primary contests except for his home state, and faced pressure for months to get out of the race, as he had no clear path to victory.
Still, after Cruz dropped out of the race Tuesday night, Kasich’s campaign had assured reporters that he planned to stay in the running and compete against Trump. As recently as Wednesday morning, the campaign tweeted a “Star Wars”-themed video that presented him as the “only hope” for Republicans still opposed to a Trump candidacy.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) May 4, 2016
While Kasich surprisingly outlasted almost all of his rivals, he never mounted a serious challenge to Trump. His final delegate tally was 153, putting him in fourth place behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race in mid-March.
After Cruz announced Tuesday night that he would suspend his campaign, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus crowned Trump the party’s presumptive nominee. Some establishment Republicans have maintained they will not support Trump, but even the Stop Trump movement never united around Cruz or Kasich, and many already seemed resigned to accept Trump before his two rivals dropped out this week.
But just because Kasich has suspended his campaign does not necessarily mean he’s done with the 2016 race. The governor, who is well-liked in his home state and often seemed like a voice of reason in a chaotic Republican primary, has been floated as a potential vice presidential pick. During the course of the GOP primary, he occasionally took positions that were seen as moderate or even in line with Democrats, so he could be seen as a way to prove the Republican ticket can work across the aisle.
As the Republicans get ready for the remaining primary contests and the summer convention, most of the drama has now been taken out of the race. For months, people talked about holding a contested convention and trying to nominate a white knight candidate who had not been involved in the primary season as a way to stop Trump. But now that Trump stands alone, he is expected to easily glide into the Republican National Convention with enough delegates to secure the nomination, and can fully turn his attention to choosing a running mate and competing against the Democrats in November.