John Kasich says campaign critics need to 'chill out'

Kasich Contends 'I've Got the Best Chance of Being the Nominee Outside of Trump'

GULFPORT, Miss. -- The Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday said those calling on him to end his presidential run need to "chill out" and made the case he is the GOP candidate with the best chance at defeating Donald Trump in the primary.

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"If I get out, which I'm not going to do, Trump is absolutely going to be the nominee," Kasich told reporters after a town hall here. "End of story."

"I'm telling ya - I'm going to stay in for a long time. I'm going all the way," he continued. Kasich said he believes he will gather enough delegates to win, and claimed he has the best chance of any candidate to defeat Trump key upcoming primaries — like the one in his home state of Ohio on March 15.

Kasich followed up a fifth place finish in South Carolina by coming in last place among the remaining GOP candidates competing in Tuesday's Nevada caucuses. His campaign, however, largely skipped over both states, instead focusing on more favorable primaries taking place March 1.

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John Kasich through his career
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John Kasich says campaign critics need to 'chill out'
MT. PLEASANT, SC - FEBRUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate John Kasich talks to an overflow crowd outside of Finn's Brick Oven Pizza February 10, 2016 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The South Carolina Republican primary will be held Saturday, February 20. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
11/3/95 - Rep. John R. Kasich (R-OH), seated 2nd from left, and Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) in the dark suit standing, go over their response to President Clinton's radio address just prior to recording the radio broadcast in the Senate studio. Kasich was casually dressed as the House was out of session for the weekend. (Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
D:\BOB\budget3.tif - slug: NA/BUDGET date: May 2, 1997 photog: Robert A. Reeder TWP The Rotunda of the Capitol description: GOP happy with their signed budget John R. Kasich (R-OH) is having a particularly good time during the GOP announcement of a new budget in the Rotunda of the Capitol. In front of him is Speaker Newt Gingrich. (Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
P 350430 022 2May99 Manchester, Nh John Kasich (R-Oh), At The First-In-The-Nation Primary Kick-Off Weekend. (Photo By Jonathan Elderfield/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 02: HOUSE ARMED SERVICES--John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., talk during House Armed Services Committee hearing on the president's fiscal year 2000 defence budget authorization budget request. (Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
Former Ohio congressman John Kasich attends the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wednesday, September 3, 2008. (Photo by Harry E. Walker/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- Dec. 01: Governor-elect John Kasich, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, during a news conference after their meeting with other Republican members and governors-elect. Boehner is the presumed House Speaker for the 112th Congress. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
John Kasich, governor of Ohio, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 14, 2011. The Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center will include a 100,000 square foot medical mart and an adjoining convention center with 230,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. The facility is expected to open in September 2013. Photographer: David Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30: Ohio Governor John Kasich works long hours with staff on his new budget proposal at his office, in the Ohio State House office, Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Newly elected republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is working toward to balancing an Ohio budget in deficit through a budget proposal with extensive budget cuts, spending reform, and changes in labor laws, including restrictions on collective bargaining. (Photo by Melina Mara/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (2nd L) waves alongside Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman (L) and Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) during a campaign stop at Tom's Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville, Ohio, on August 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 28: Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - JULY 21: Ohio Governor John Kasich gives his speech announcing his 2016 Presidential candidacy at the Ohio Student Union, at The Ohio State University on July 21, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Kasich became the 16th candidate to officially enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich waves to the crowd after speaking at a campaign gathering with supporters upon placing second place in the New Hampshire republican primary on February 9, 2016 in Concord, New Hampshire. Kasich lost the Republican primary to Donald Trump, though he upset fellow Republican governors Chris Christie and former Governor Jeb Bush. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

"We're thinking about Vermont, Massachusetts. Virginia is important to us. I don't know how we'll do here yet, but we've got support here in this state, and at some point it's going to go north. And when it goes north to Illinois and Ohio and're gonna see things happening."

Kasich points a comparison of the delegates he has received versus the state of his financial campaign contrasted to the rest of the field. "We've spent far less money than other campaign and my delegate count is frankly within a shadow of everybody else and they've spent a fortune of money and a big chunk of their money attacking me," he said. "So we're not going anywhere, folks."

At events across the south for the last few days, Kasich has faced repeated questions from voters at his town halls asking how he can ultimately emerge out of the Republican field and take on Trump. A man in Kennesaw, Georgia Tuesday asked Kasich when he would "take the gloves off" and go after Trump and Rubio, and another woman at the Georgia event told Kasich that she worried Trump "really captured our imagination because he knows our emotion. And your campaign has not captured the imagination of the American people and that's why you're where you're at."

In Gulfport, a man told Kasich he believes the governor is the most "qualified" and "compassionate," but that he wonders how Kasich can ultimately defeat Trump when the frontrunner keeps surpassing the rest of the field in the early voting states.

Fiery Kasich Says 'I'm Staying in ... Everybody Just Needs to Chill Out'

"The race consolidates, I beat Trump," Kasich said.

"I think he has a ceiling. And hopefully the race will consolidate and I'll be in a position to be able to go mono-y-mono and then lay out my stuff and let him lay out his and we'll see where we are."

Another man in Gulfport asked Kasich about his thoughts on the possibility of Kasich being vice president, saying "the good Lord is calling you to lead this country, if you can be number one, if not, guess what, number 2 gets it all done."

"You know, I don't know what you know about McKees Rocks. Pennsylvania," Kasich said, referring to his home town. "We don't run for number two. I'm sorry. It doesn't work that way."

"We have 54 of these races all over and we've had four. So everybody just needs to chill out," he told his town hall. "We've got a long way to go."

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