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Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., right, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, left, participate in the Kemp Forum, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

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“Crystal Ball” suggests Marco Rubio offer John Kasich VP spot in exchange for his backing

As Marco Rubio continues to gain steam in the race for the Republican nomination, a leading political expert is looking into his crystal ball to make a few predictions.

Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and editor-in-chief of “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” suggested Rubio “consider a daring gambit.” The bold move? Openly offering John Kasich “the vice presidential slot in exchange for Ohio governor’s support.”

In the Saturday “Crystal Ball” piece, Sabato and his team said Ronald Reagan did something similar in his 1976 campaign. It was right before the Republican convention, and “while it didn’t work out, it shook up conventional wisdom. It is a tactic worth considering.”

The “Crystal Ball” story continues:

“If Rubio can somehow push Kasich out after Bush’s exit, it seems reasonable to think that the lion’s share of their supporters would go to him, and in a three-way race, that could be enough for Rubio to start getting the victories he has failed to secure so far. However, Kasich seems inclined to continue to run, and the Republican power brokers who favor a Rubio-Kasich ticket probably won’t take the risks necessary to make this happen.”

Kasich came in fifth in South Carolina on Saturday, with 7.6 percent support. Jeb Bush came in fourth with 7.8 percent of the vote. Bush announced Saturday he was bowing out of the race.

Kasich is still plugging along, on Sunday telling John Dickerson on “Face the Nation” that his team is “going to go on March the 1st to a number of states where we think we’re going to do well.”

“So it’s a matter of continuing on … and being able to take advantage of grassroots,” he said on the show. “We now have some Bush people who have come our way, both from a political point of view and a fundraising point of view, and we’re going to keep struggling to make sure that we can be out there, keep putting the resources to be in a position of doing well.”

Rubio came in second in South Carolina with 22.5 percent of the vote. He now heads to Nevada, where Republicans will caucus on Feb. 23. Recent polling averages show Rubio is battling it out with Ted Cruz for second in Nevada.

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