CONCORD, N.H. — Coming off a clear second place finish in New Hampshire, allies of Ohio Gov. John Kasich are calling for middling candidates to re-examine their campaigns as the race turns to South Carolina, Nevada and Super Tuesday.
On a high and fresh off Kasich's strong second place posting, two prominent backers of the Ohio governor believe former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should "look in the mirror" and ultimately consolidate behind a single candidate to best take on Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and try to take home the GOP nomination.
"They have to decide. But I think their performance in New Hampshire shows that they really don't have traction," said former Sen. John E. Sununu, Kasich's campaign chairman in the state. "Jeb Bush did worse tonight than he did when he started — and that's after spending $30-40 million in New Hampshire."
"They've really got to decide whether they really have a path forward. I can't decide that for them," Sununu continued. "This is probably Chris Christie's best state and he didn't get out of single digits, so it's hard to imagine that there's a path forward there. Everyone understands over time fields narrow, they consolidate, and there's no question 1v1 that John Kasich would beat Donald Trump and easily win the nomination and he will win a general election because there is no candidate, no Republican stronger in a general election than John Kasich."
The remarks from the former New Hampshire senator came not long after Christie told supporters that he would be heading back to the Garden State to reassess his options before departing for South Carolina.
The New Jersey governor posted an underwhelming 7 percent support from Granite Staters after an campaigning intensely in New Hampshire and trying to take down Sen. Marco Rubio during Saturday's debate, which proved successful. Rubio currently sits in fifth place with 11 percent support as he sets off for the Palmetto State.