TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan (CNN) — John Kasich is in need of a little magic on the campaign trail, and on Saturday he conjured up a literary reference when he said he stood with the world’s most famous boy wizard in opposing the “dark side.”
“If I were to just attack Donald Trump now and call him a name, boy it would be just ‘Kasich has resorted to the negative,'” the Ohio governor told reporters here. “I’m with Harry Potter. We’re not going to the dark side.”
Invoking the famous fictional character is the latest effort by Kasich to cast himself as being above the negative attacks and personal insults that have clouded the GOP primary fight in recent weeks.
Campaign spokesman Chris Schrimpf said Kasich even joked that Quidditch — a game that wizards and witches in the books play while flying on broomsticks — should be part of the nomination process for president: Whoever catches the golden “snitch” — a main goal of the fictional game — should become the nominee.
Kasich has struggled to gain traction in early primary and caucus contests and has yet to win a state. He is betting on winning Ohio’s primary on March 15. In the last few days, he has said a win for him there will stop front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the Republican nomination outright, and will likely lead to a brokered convention — even if Republican National Committee rules include nothing about a “snitch.”
Kasich, however, hasn’t always steered clear of attacking other candidates. In late November, his campaign released an ad effectively comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
But Kasich reiterated to reporters on Saturday that “raising the bar in politics” is what is most important to him.
“I have two choices. I can continue to follow the path that I’m on, and give people the vision and the hope, or I can call names. Now, if I don’t call names and I don’t win, I will have won anyway, because that’s what really matters to me: raising the bar in politics, showing that vision counts,” he said.