Bolstered by a recent Quinnipiac survey that shows him with a double digit lead over the GOP field in Ohio, the state he has served as governor since 2011, John Kasich says the chances he will toss his hat into the Republican primary contest for the party’s 2016 Presidential nomination in 2016 are “looking pretty darn good.”
Kasich is widely expected to announce his candidacy for President in about two weeks. If he does, he will join a field already crowded with a dozen announced candidates. The number could grow to as many as 20 by September.
Though he polls at anemic levels nationally, Kasich thinks his experience governing Ohio will impress Republican primary voters in the likely event he formally enters the race. Ohio is a key swing state that last went Republican in 2004, when President George W. Bush defeated John Kerry there on his way to winning re-election,
The 63-year old former Congressman and former Fox News contributor is clearly popular with the voters in his home state, where he won re-election to a second term handily in November, defeating his Democratic opponent by a 64 percent to 33 percent margin.
But as the polls stand now, he does not even make the top ten hurdle his former employers at Fox News have set to even be allowed on the stage in the first televised Republican Presidential candidate debate it will host in August.
The Real Clear Politics average of all national polls taken during May and June has him lagging far behind — tied in 12th place with announced candidate Carly Fiorina at 1.8 percent.
Kasich remains undaunted and upbeat, despite heavy criticism from Tea Party groups and conservatives who opposed his recent decision to expand Medicare coverage. As Real Clear Politics reported, “Kasich has also come under fire from conservatives for accepting Medicaid expansion in Ohio under Obamacare despite opposition from the GOP-led legislature (he ultimately went around state lawmakers to do it). But he doesn’t apologize for it and has referred to it as a moral imperative, which angered Christian conservatives.”
Kasich was typically positive in a speech he gave on Tuesday to a GOP gathering in Michigan. “To me, every voter is gettable,” he told the crowd.
He indicated a readiness to compete in the Republican primary elimination process.
“I think it’s a beautiful process…Reputation is not as important as what you do when you get there … I’m concerned about having enough time to get to these places [primary states like New Hampshire, South Carolina, and caucus states like Iowa], and hopefully we will connect,” he said.
Kasich is undaunted by the size of the current crop of would be GOP presidential nominees.
“Why would I worry about the rest of the field? Look at the resumes and tell me who has national-security experience, who was involved in changing and balancing the budget and getting welfare reform through?” he said.
Kasich repeatedly hit his record of executive action in Ohio.
“Ohio people are feeling good. . .As you know, if you can do it in Ohio, you can do it anywhere; it’s a snapshot of America,” Kasich told the Michigan GOP crowd.
On Friday, he hit the theme of executive experience again, telling CBN’s the Brody File”if he runs for President of the United States he’ll enter the race as a man of accomplishment.”
“It’s experience and record. Amateur hour is over,” Kasich told the Brody File.
“We have come back almost from the dead [in the state of Ohio] and the record is good and I think if you have that experience and you have the record, it’s not about ‘tell me’ it’s about ‘show me’ and I think its time that we’re able to support somebody that has a solid record of accomplishment because that’s what we need in America. No more on the job training,” Kasich noted.
On Wednesday, Real Clear Politics caught up with Kasich as he walked along Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire. When reporters asked him about the Fox News debate, he responded jovially.
“Is there going to be a debate? Who’s hosting it?” he asked, adding “We’ve got a long way until that debate, so I’m not really worried about it. … I’m enjoying myself. We’ll see what happens,” Kasich said.
Kasich faces two announced and two unannounced candidates who also have experience as governors: Former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have both announced. Current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to announce shortly, and current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may announce.
Many political pundits believe that Kasich will try to take away moderate, establishment voters from current “top tier” candidate Bush, but Kasich is not buying that analysis, as Real Clear Politics reported recently:
Kasich disagreed that he might be competing with Jeb Bush for moderate, establishment voters. “It’s fine,” Kasich said when asked by a reporter about his current relationship with the Bushes. “I like the Bushes—they’re nice people,” he said. “I like Barbara; she’s really something.”
If Kasich announces in two weeks, as is expected, the most immediate question he will face is which of the other candidates he will have to vault over to make it into Fox News’ round of ten in the August debate.
Chris Christie, still unannounced, occupies the same “moderate establishment governor” space as Kasich, and comes in at 4.6 per cent in the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls. Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), comes in at 2.2 percent.
If Kasich can move past Christie, Santorum, and Fiorina in the polls, which is in the range of the possible, he will make it into the field of ten and get that coveted invitation to participate in the August Fox News Republican Presidential candidate debate.