There’s been speculation about it for months. Here in Ohio, it has been years actually. But in the last few weeks, all signs began pointing to a presidential run by Governor Kasich. Per ABC’s Jon Karl:
John Kasich is “virtually certain” to jump into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, sources close to the Ohio governor tell ABC News.
Kasich has said his wife and daughters have given him a green light to run and in recent days Kasich has told his political advisors to begin preparing for a likely campaign. Kasich travels to New Hampshire in early June and recently did a fundraising trip to California. If he makes the final decision to run, he will make the announcement in late June or July.
This cycle’s primary is going to be a crazy one. There are nearly 20 candidates expected to run. This may actually have factored into Kasich’s decision to run, posits Allahpundit over at Hot Air.
At this point, with new candidates cannonballing into the GOP’s 2016 pool every week, maybe the question shifts from “Why would a guy like Kasich run?” to “Why wouldn’t he?”
Iowa might be winnable this time with less than 20 percent of the vote, as caucusgoers are likely to splinter among a range of contenders. The sheer number of people onstage at the GOP debates might leave low-information voters overwhelmed, with only the best communicators in the field capable of creating a strong impression on them. A guy like Kasich, who’s sharp enough on camera to have hosted his own Fox show, might look at all that and conclude that anyone really can win this time.
Later at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw wondered where Kasich fits among the candidates.
Given the pack already in the running and the questions about the tax and spend budget he proposed, I’m just not seeing what sets Kasich apart as the guy we’re all waiting for at this point. Yes, I get that Ohio is important. That’s probably the biggest reason we’re having the convention there. But aside from a possible edge on the Ohio electoral votes (which rarely works out, historically speaking) what does the governor bring to the party that you’re not already getting from Scott Walker, minus the union fighting record and history of winning tough elections that the Wisconsin governor is packing?
Jazz raises a fair question. Which voters would Kasich be competing for? Certainly not the tea party. No, it seems fair to say that Ohio’s governor would be competing for the same voter base as Governors Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.
We haven’t broached this subject in detail yet here, so let’s take a look at Kasich’s pros and cons in a GOP presidential primary.
- Ohio is still rebounding nicely from the recession under Kasich’s tenure. As of March, Ohio had gained 350,000 private sector jobs since he took office. That’s roughly equal to the number of jobs lost under his predecessor, Ted Strickland.
- Kasich has cut income taxes by $3 billion.
- Kasich has won this critical swing state twice now, including being reelected in a landslide last year. (It didn’t hurt that his opponent was a complete joke, but voters outside of Ohio don’t know that.)
- Kasich overcame a massive $8 billion budget shortfall that he inherited from his predecessor.
- Kasich has been a defender of the 2nd Amendment, signing every pro-2A bill that has come to his desk.
- Under Kasich, the state’s rainy day fund has gone from 89 cents to roughly $1.5 billion.
- Kasich has enthusiastically enacted Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. In fact, he did an end-around the Republican legislature who refused to enact it. This won’t be popular among the GOP base and it will be hard for him to defend it in a debate but still say he opposes Obamacare.
- Kasich vigorously defends common core, and has even dismissed its criticism as a “runaway internet campaign“.
- Spending has increased significantly. And even though the governor’s latest proposed budget includes a further $2 billion tax cut, most of those cuts are offset by increased taxes elsewhere, not spending cuts. Americans for Tax Reform said, “There is room to cut in the state budget. The legislature would better serve Ohio taxpayers by reducing state spending and reducing income taxes rather than cutting taxes on the backs of job creators. Gov. Kasich’s plan to reduce state income taxes is a step in the right the direction for Ohio taxpayers, but doing so on the backs of job creators leaves the plan less than inspiring.”
It will certainly add a unique element to have a candidate on the debate stage that we know well.
I may just be a bit player, but my clear favorite in the race is Senator Marco Rubio, with Governor Scott Walker being a close second. I’ve been a fan of Rubio for many years, and was pretty pumped when he announced that he would indeed be running.
But whoever our nominee is will certainly be a better choice than Hillary Clinton. The election and the convention are still a long way away, though. A lot will change as we get closer. Let’s enjoy the ride towards the end of this awful Obama presidency. We’ll be here right along with you.