CINCINNATI -- Calling him "an important voice of sanity in this year’s field," The Boston Globe endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Feb. 9 New Hampshire Republican primary.
Kasich has been counting on a win in New Hampshire to keep his campaign afloat. He's held dozens of town-hall meetings in the state and focused his campaign cash there.
Though he's recently risen in polling, he and the rest of the GOP field still trail business magnate Donald Trump -- someone who the Globe called "the worst" of a group of Republican candidates "who have spent their campaign appealing to voters’ fears and biases."
A win for Kasich, the Globe said, would be "a blow to the divisive, demagogic candidates running on nativism and other political simplicities." In particular, the newspaper wrote, "[Trump's] bigotry is toxic — and it requires a resounding electoral defeat."
The Globe pointed to Kasich's record in Ohio as a "pragmatic, fiscally responsible executive, but one who is also concerned with helping the poor."
"His success in that important swing state, and his record as a moderate conservative who is willing to compromise in pursuit of results, suggests he is the Republican hopeful most likely to be successful on the national stage," the Globe wrote.
Among the moderate positions the Globe cited: Ohio's expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and Kasich's resisting calls for photo identification as a requirement to vote, something the Globe said has disproportionate impacts on low-income and minority citizens.
In New Hampshire, Kasich hasn't strayed much from his campaign strategy centered on the idea that voters want a candidate with a record of getting things done. In addition to his recent work as governor, he also talks about his 18 years in Congress, where he worked on balancing the federal budget in the 1990s.
Nationally, Kasich was largely unknown heading into his presidential campaign, and he's had trouble standing out because national media attention has been sucked up by Trump.
Kasich was one of the first Republican candidates to take on Trump directly, something the Globe called out in its endorsement Monday:
"He has forcefully called out opponents like Ben Carson and Trump for what he describes as 'fantasy tax schemes.' While some of his competitors have tried to avoid tangling with Trump, Kasich has said, truthfully, that the idea of deporting 11 million illegal immigrants is completely unrealistic, no matter how much it might please the GOP base.
Establishment GOP voters, who are less likely to support Trump, haven’t decided which candidates they like. Instead, their support remains divided among several hopefuls, according to Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University.
Beck told WCPO it's important Kasich finish among the top four in New Hampshire if he wants to keep campaign money flowing in.
The Boston Globe endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire's Democratic primary.
WCPO's Amanda Seitz and Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press contributed to this report.