First on CNN: Kasich keeps it positive in new South Carolina ads

Story highlights

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich has two new ads out ahead of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on February 20
  • He finished in second place in New Hampshire's primary earlier this week
  • In addition to ramping up television buys, Kasich's campaign is scrambling to deploy staff and volunteers to other states

(CNN)John Kasich is taking his upbeat message to South Carolina's airwaves, kicking off his campaign with a pair of ads casting the Ohio governor as a faithful man with an ambitious agenda.

One of the ads, a biographical piece that focuses on Kasich's faith in God, appears aimed squarely at South Carolina's sizeable evangelical population.
"My parents were killed by drunk driver, but my parents did not die in vain," Kasich says in his new ad. "I was transformed. I discovered my purpose by discovering the Lord."
The second ad is snappy spot centered on Kasich's goals in his first 100 days if elected president. A narrator vows that Kasich will cut taxes, enforce a balanced budget and secure the border.
"John Kasich always gets it done and leaves no one behind," the narrator says. "No excuses. No surrender."
The ads are one of Kasich's first steps in mounting a challenge beyond New Hampshire, where he finished in second, and a signal that he's doubling down on his rosy message.
"South Carolina is just getting to know Gov. Kasich as the only candidate running a positive campaign," said campaign spokesman Chris Schrimpf. "These ads further introduce him on a human level and tell them what a Kasich presidency will be like: Conservative solutions to rebuild our country."
John Kasich ad focuses on his faith in God
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In addition to ramping up television buys, Kasich's campaign is scrambling to deploy staff and volunteers to other states where they hope to compete in the coming months. But Kasich could face a challenge in attempting to compete on multiple fronts with relatively limited resources.
Kasich got at least one big boost on Thursday, when the campaign announced Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone -- a former Chris Christie backer -- was throwing his support behind the governor.
The campaign also had its best fundraising period to date, bringing in more than $900,000 online since the polls closed in the Granite State, Schrimpf said.
Schrimpf declined to say how much the campaign was spending on the ads, except to call it a significant statewide buy.
So far Kasich has spent little on the airwaves in the Palmetto State -- roughly $60,000, according to data from Kantar Media/CMAG. As of this week, the super PAC supporting Kasich also bought about $150,000 worth of broadcast, satellite and local cable airtime.
Kasich has already made it clear he doesn't see South Carolina as a must-win, but rather an opportunity to continue building momentum and pick up some delegates.
"We're going to compete here," he told CNN's Jamie Gangel. "We don't expect to win here."