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Tamar Hallerman
Greg BluesteinJim Galloway

In midst of Georgia visit, John Kasich urged to quit GOP race

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Republican Presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, gestures during a town hall meeting in Richmond, Va., on Monday. AP Photo/Steve Helber

Republican Presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, gestures during a town hall meeting in Richmond, Va., on Monday. AP Photo/Steve Helber

When Republican presidential candidate John Kasich makes his stops at Kennesaw State University and the Sandy Springs city hall today, the Ohio governor will no doubt be asked about this article in Politico.com:

The Republican establishment has a message for John Kasich: get out, and get out of Marco Rubio’s way.logo-all

A string of elected officials, GOP insiders and prominent donors officially threw their support behind Rubio on Monday, calling him their last chance to take down Donald Trump. Their statements had another common theme. Some explicitly called for Kasich to quit, while others sent the same message by saying the Ohio governor’s ongoing presence is holding Rubio back.

Pressure to drop out is unlikely to come from Gov. Nathan Deal, who has ruled out endorsing Rubio because of the Florida senator’s activities in the water wars with Georgia. On the other hand, Kasich has never made Deal’s list of favorites, either.

In South Carolina, Kasich earned the reputation as the hugging candidate. The apex was an encounter with a University of Georgia student, which has now become a 30-second spot for the Kasich campaign. The narrator is DIY actor Tim Allen:

You’re not likely to see this ad outside of this site. The Kasich campaign says it’s putting a six-figure TV buy behind the ad – but in Michigan, Vermont and Massachusetts.

***

Over at WSB Radio, Jamie Dupree has taken notice of some apparent disarray within the Republican presidential campaign of Ted Cruz. One day after Cruz announced the firing of Rick Tyler, his communications director and a former Newt Gingrich operative, the U.S. senator from Texas has produced no schedule beyond today’s caucus meetings in Nevada.

Cruz’ organization may be an extensive one – but it appears brittle.

***

The lede from a Marietta Daily Journal report:

About 200 predominantly white and young Atlantans crammed into a stuffy ninth floor room on Galleria Parkway on Monday for the grand opening of Sen. Marco Rubio’s Georgia headquarters in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

His state chairman, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, urged people in the crowd to make 10 calls each and every day until Georgia’s Republican primary “and we can unify behind Marco and win.”

A Channel 2 Action News poll released Monday showed Rubio in second place in Georgia, behind Donald Trump but ahead of Ted Cruz.

***

Talk show provocateur Erick Erickson has this volatile line in his declaration not to vote for Donald Trump under any circumstance, ever:

Already we are seeing pastors and religious leaders compromising their integrity to vote for Donald Trump. Jerry Falwell, Jr. has joined the whores of Moloch, defending Trump’s Planned Parenthood statement on Twitter. Falwell presides over an institution that expels students who have abortions, but is willing to give positive lip service to Trump saying there are good things Planned Parenthood does.

***

Well, this is awkward: The sample GOP ballot for Georgia’s March 1 vote has more candidates who have dropped out of the running than who are left:

gagopballot

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Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka has a message for Georgians:

***

Former Gov. Roy Barnes and former congressman Buddy Darden will be among the pallbearers at Thursday’s funeral for Bill Kinney, the longtime – but retired – editor of the Marietta Daily Journal. McKinney was 91, but his death is a third blow to the publication. Publisher Otis Brumby died in 2012 after a two-year battle with cancer. Editorial page editor Joe Kirby died late last year.

***

In Washington, U.S. senators returned to Washington Monday for the first time since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell largely sidestepped the political fight that’s snowballing on Capitol Hill about whether the body should confirm a replacement before the elections.

The Kentucky Republican instead paid tribute to “Nino,” a relationship McConnell said stretched back to when the two worked together at the Justice Department in the 1970s.

“Justice Scalia was an articulate champion of the Constitution, he was a personality unto himself, and his passing is a significant loss for the court and for our country,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Harry Reid, McConnell’s arch political rival, hit at the issue harder after offering condolences to Scalia’s family.

“In recent years the Republican Leader and his Republican Senators have done everything possible to grind the wheels of government to a halt. But now we are seeing something from the Republican Leader that is far worse than his usual brand of obstructionism. We are seeing an unprecedented attempt to hold hostage an entire branch of government,” the Nevada Democrat said.

McConnell has stated plainly that the Senate shouldn’t confirm an Obama nominee before voters go to the polls, but he’s notably left the door open to committee hearings and possibly even a floor vote. The GOP position should crystallize this afternoon, when the party meets for its weekly policy luncheon.

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