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Story highlights

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is one of three remaining Republican presidential hopefuls

Despite being behind in the delegate count, he refused Monday to get out of the 2016 race

(CNN) —  

John Kasich rejected the suggestion that he is helping Donald Trump win the Republican presidential nomination by staying in the primary race, arguing that he should stay because he is the only GOP candidate who can beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in a general election.

“Am I a spoiler? Of course I’m not a spoiler,” Kasich laughed in an interview on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning.

“If I’m the only one that can beat Hillary in the fall, why would anybody say I should leave? I mean that’s just – that’s nuts!”

Kasich was pressed by host Alisyn Camerota to explain his path to the Republican nomination, since it is mathematically impossible for him to reach the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright – a fact that supporters of GOP opponent Ted Cruz eagerly point out.

As he has in the past, Kasich countered that it wasn’t likely that any of the candidates would end up with the required 1,237 delegates, and that he expected to win nomination at a contested convention because of his electability and record.

“We are probably going to go to a convention, nobody will have enough delegates,” he said. “There’s not going to be enough delegates for anybody.”

“The fact is what we are looking forward to is an extension of this primary process,” the Ohio governor continued, “which ultimately will be a convention, and there delegates will make a choice. I believe I will be selected because of electability and because of the other thing that we seem to lose sight of: who can be a good president.”

Kasich also dismissed his delegate math problem, pointing to favorable Western and Northern states coming up on the primary calendar and joking, “Everything is mathematically – how many times can we float around the moon or something, mathematically – who cares about that? (Trump) will not have enough delegates. He’s going to go there without enough delegates.”

And in a sign of the contentious path forward for the Republican nominating contest, Kasich fired a parting shot at Cruz, who has been among the loudest voices calling on Kasich to drop out and thereby set up a one-on-one contest between the Texas senator and Trump for the GOP nomination.

“People are beginning to look at the three candidates, and they’re saying who can win?” Kasich said. “Who has the experience? We spent the last seven years saying, how could we have elected a first term United States senator?”

“I don’t think amnesia has totally set in. Maybe it has. We’ll wake them up.”