WASHINGTON -- John Kasich is sending a message to Republicans who think he should drop out of the GOP presidential contest: "Forget about it."
With Jeb Bush out of the race, Kasich's and Marco Rubio's campaigns are in a fierce battle to become the so-called establishment alternative to front runner Donald Trump.
Kasich's campaign is running a strategy that relies on surviving through the March 1 Super Tuesday contest and winning Michigan's March 8 primary. Kasich says people need to "chill out" because there's a "long way to go" in the GOP nominating contest.
Then, Kasich says he'd love to take on Trump in his home state of Ohio, which holds its winner-take-all primary on March 15.
Kasich's campaign is also unleashing a stream of attacks against Marco Rubio, saying it's time to "rethink the conventional wisdom" that Rubio is the establishment's best hope for defeating Trump.
Kasich's campaign has sent three memos to reporters in fewer than 24 hours slamming Rubio's campaign strategy, saying he's proving to be a poor return on investment when comparing his campaign spending with his early-state finishes.
The campaign is attempting to downplay Rubio's second-place finish in Tuesday night's Nevada caucuses as a disappointment given how much he spent in the state.
A slate of GOP office holders have lined up behind Rubio, including Bob Dole, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Kasich has secured several prominent endorsements as well in recent days, including Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and first director of Homeland Security.