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Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval endorses John Kasich for president

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval on Saturday endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican presidential primary.

Sandoval also joined his campaign as a national co-chair.

“Governor Kasich and I entered office at the same time with the same primary objective: to put people back to work,” Sandoval said in a statement. “Under John Kasich’s leadership, Ohio’s economy has undergone an incredible transformation. Over 425,000 jobs have returned to the state and people have hope again.”

Sandoval had declined to endorse any of the GOP candidates prior to Nevada’s caucus. He voted for Sen. Marco Rubio at the Nevada caucus.

The Kasich campaign announced Sandoval’s support.

Sandoval said: “Now, more than ever, America needs his leadership in the Oval Office. John Kasich is the only candidate in the race with a real plan to deliver results, and he is the only Republican who can defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall. I look forward to helping his team spread this message to voters in the months ahead.”

Said Kasich: “I’m grateful and honored to receive the endorsement of my fellow governor Brian Sandoval. Governor Sandoval has turned things around in Nevada just like we’ve done in Ohio. Under his leadership, Nevada’s unemployment rate has fallen from over 14 percent to 5.8 percent. The number of state small businesses has grown to exceed pre-recession levels and Nevada is consistently ranked has having one of the top ten business climates in the nation. It’s a true privilege to welcome him to our national organization as we move forward to the convention.”

Kasich is trailing both Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz for delegates to win the GOP presidential nomination. The next GOP primary is Tuesday in New York.

The Republican convention starts July 18 in Cleveland.

Kasich said he is grateful for Sandoval’s endorsement.

Sandoval’s endorsement comes on the heels of former Gov. George Pataki’s endorsement and also the endorsement of former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman

As recently as last month, Sandoval said he would support whoever became the GOP nominee.

He had caucused for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio before he dropped out of the race.

Some Republicans have said they would support a third-party bid rather than back Donald Trump.

The New York businessman is the only candidate with a realistic chance of reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Kasich said Sandoval’s endorsement follows others from former New York Gov. George Pataki, who entered the 2016 presidential race last May and later withdrew in December, and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.

“These things are coming little by little as people realize that the little engine keeps chugging along,” Kasich told Bash.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801

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