- John Kasich
Governor of Ohio
- John Richard Kasich is the 69th Governor of Ohio, in office since 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing ... Wikipedia
- Born: May 13, 1952 (age 62), McKees Rocks, PA
- Education: Ohio State University (1974)
- Office: Governor of Ohio since 2011
- Previous office: Representative (OH 12th District) 1983–2001
- Spouse: Karen Waldbillig (m. 1997), Mary Lee Griffith (m. 1975–1980)
- Parents: Anne Kasich, John Kasich
Published on Jul 21, 2015
John Kasich announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He made the announcement at Ohio State University in Columbus. Watch the complete John Kasich Presidential Campaign Announcement event here: http://cs.pn/1HM9v9n
John Kasich makes 2016 bid official in freewheeling announcement
By Terence Burlij and Tom LoBianco, CNN
Updated 3:11 PM ET, Tue July 21, 2015
Kasich rallies supporters around presidential announcement 01:29
Washington (CNN)Ohio Gov. John Kasich burst onto the Republican playing field Tuesday with a freewheeling and, at times, emotional speech that hit on two main points: Americans should be working together and he can win, despite long odds.
The second-term Ohio governor told his life story for 45 minutes Tuesday at his alma mater, Ohio State University. And it was 20 minutes into his speech, at times meandering and sounding unscripted, before he made it official:
"I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support ... because I have decided to run for president of the United States," Kasich told the crowd of roughly 4,000.
Kasich tacked to the left throughout his speech, in a way that no other Republican candidate has this cycle, touching on themes of unity and support.
"There are those who say 'Just work harder.' 'Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps.' I believe in all of that. Some people just don't have the fortune we have," he said.
Later in his speech, Kasich -- who has been criticized heavily for expanding Medicaid under the President Barack Obama's signature health care law -- asked for empathy.
"The Lord wants our hearts to reach out to those who don't have what we have," he said. "That shouldn't be hard for America, that's who we are. Empathy. Don't be so quick too judge."
As he becomes the 16th major Republican candidate to enter the field, Kasich faces an immediate hurdle of trying to make it onstage for the first Republican debate. Fox News has said only the top 10 candidates in national polling will make the cut and Kasich has been trailing in the back of the pack with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Kasich hinted at his task in a refrain throughout his speech, laying down the argument for why he could upend the frontrunners in the wide-open field.
"They said it couldn't be done, and we proved them wrong again" Kasich said, as he recounted his first run for Congress, then his 2010 run for governor.
Though he waited until Tuesday to announce, the Kasich campaign has effectively been up and running for months. His affiliated campaign group, New Day for America, began airing its second television ad in New Hampshire this week. He blasted his way on-air late in June with the first major buy of the cycle, spending $1.7 million to introduce himself to New Hampshire voters.
Now, as he formalized his bid 20 minutes into his speech Tuesday, Kasich will be looking to ride the post-announcement bump into the top 10 candidates -- the group that will be able to participate in the first GOP debate next month sponsored by Fox Next.
The 63-year-old Republican has a resume tailor-made for presidential politics: elected twice statewide in battleground Ohio, worked in the private sector and served nearly two decades in Congress, which included a six-year run as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Who Is John Kasich? 02:10
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Kasich launches his presidential campaign near the back of the pack in the polls. A CNN/ORC survey released in July showed the Ohio Republican with just 2% support among likely GOP primary voters. And the latest average tallied by RealClearPolitics has Kasich at 1.5% nationwide, and in 12th place, just behind former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
His candidacy offers mainstream Republicans another option alongside former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
As he looks to differentiate himself, his calling card may end up being his blunt and sometimes prickly style -- which could be spun to present a straight-talking candidate, ready to break out of typical molds.
Kasich previously sought the presidency 16 years ago, but withdrew from the race in July 1999 and endorsed George W. Bush. During that campaign he referred to himself as the "Jolt Cola" of the Republican field to draw a contrast between his lively personality and what he saw as less exciting candidates.
Potential 2016 presidential candidates 19 photos
This time, however, he said he's staffed up and ready to run.
"I've done this before. The problem was last time that I had this jet airplane ready to take off but I didn't have any gas for it. It never got into the air," Kasich said earlier this month, following a meeting of Washington backers he convened near the Capitol. "I learned a lot from that."
More than a decade-and-a-half later, Kasich is still full of energy, and is not shy about taking on his fellow Republicans: He has accepted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, supports Common Core education standards and has allowed for the possibility of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The Ohio 'formula'
That call-it-like-he-sees-it style has helped raise Kasich's political stock, at least in Ohio. The Republican scored a resounding victory in his 2014 re-election fight, receiving 64% of the vote and winning all but two of the Buckeye State's 88 counties, albeit against a flawed Democratic challenger.
That 2014 victory was even more remarkable considering Kasich's standing just a few years earlier. Shortly after taking office, Kasich pushed to end the collective bargaining rights for public employee unions in the state, a bruising battle that saw his approval ratings dip into the 30s. In November 2011, Ohio voters rejected the measure at the ballot by a 22-point margin, 61% to 39%.
John Kasich's political career 11 photos
"It's clear the people have spoken," Kasich said in the aftermath of the defeat. "I heard their voices. I understand their decision. And frankly, I respect what the people have to say in an effort like this. And as a result of that, it requires me to take a deep breath and to spend some time to reflect on what happened here."
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Less than two years later, Kasich took a step that would roil some conservatives, announcing in February of 2013 that Ohio would accept federal money under President Obama's health care law to dramatically expand Medicaid coverage to some 275,000 residents. The decision resulted in a months-long fight with GOP state lawmakers, but Kasich ultimately prevailed in an effort that he has framed as both an economic and moral cause.
"I'm proud of what we've been doing for the people who have been living in the shadows, living under a bridge or whatever," Kasich said during a Republican Governors Association panel last November. "And the people have responded to it. Conservatives in my state have responded to it by and large."
The effort did not appear to have any lingering effects by the time November 2014 rolled around, with 88% of conservatives saying they backed Kasich for a second term, according to exit polls. But it was Kasich's ability to expand his support among groups that Republicans have struggled to win over at the national level, winning 60% of women, 59% of moderates and 26% of African-Americans.
Kasich suggests other Republicans should be following his example if they want to take back the White House next year.
"I think it's a formula for the country. Look at problems and fix them. Don't be worried about the next election," Kasich told CNN's Gloria Borger during a visit to South Carolina in February. "I mean, too many politicians worry about getting elected as they do their job -- if they worried more about doing their job they'd get elected.
His own brand of conservatism
No Republican has waged a successful campaign for the White House without winning Ohio. And there is one thing Kasich says will not work with Buckeye State voters: extremism.
"If somebody comes into Ohio and they're extreme, they're not going to win," Kasich told CNN. "I mean, we don't operate that way in Ohio."
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That has been a common refrain for Kasich as he explored a potential presidential bid earlier this year. During a March appearance in New Hampshire Kasich blasted "all the divisions in America" and said leaders should "cross their own interest groups and reach out to unite and lift Americans."
The challenge for Kasich, though, is selling a more pragmatic brand of politics to a conservative GOP primary electorate eager to draw sharp contrasts with President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee in 2016.
Kasich has an answer ready for critics who contend his approach to governing does not line up with conservative principles.
"You know what, I've got as much a right as anybody in the Republican Party to define what conservatism means," Kasich told CNN in February. "I was the governor of Ohio that took an $8 billion hole and produced a surplus. We've cut taxes more than anybody in the country, and they're wondering about my conservatism? Maybe I should wonder about theirs."
'Crusade' to balance the budget
There is one policy area where it is hard to deny Kasich's conservative chops: the budget.
The fiscal health of the country has been a focus of the Ohio Republican for decades. Kasich describes himself as the "chief architect" of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, signed by President Bill Clinton, which resulted in the first federal budget surplus since the late 1960s.
Last December, fresh off his 2014 re-election victory, Kasich launched what he dubbed a "crusade" to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which included travel to the key early voting states of South Carolina and New Hampshire, as well as others such as Idaho and Utah.
"If you don't manage the debt, it'll kill you," Kasich said during a March stop in New Hampshire, pledging to "travel all over America" to promote his agenda.
An opening for Kasich
When he was mulling a bid earlier this year, Kasich said that one of the key factors in his decision would be whether there was a way for him to win the White House.
Amid a field of bigger-name contenders -- like Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- Kasich looks crowded out. However, his affiliated "New Day" group announced a combined fundraising haul of $11.5 million during a somewhat-abbreviated period starting from May 1, enough for the Kasich team to land in the middle of the pack.
And Kasich has the backing of a handful of key Republicans, including top media strategists from Sen. John McCain's 2008 bid, Fred Davis and John Weaver, and former New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu, something Kasich often points out.
"Give me somebody better than John Sununu in New Hampshire, tell me who it is," Kasich said earlier this month. "I can't figure out who it would be. Maybe (former) Gov. (John) Sununu, his father. But I'll take young John."
Kasich loses New York, but wins delegates — and an argument
By David Weigel and Josh Hicks April 20 at 12:15 AM
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who had spent the month since his home-state win boxed out of the presidential primary, celebrated a curious sort of win on Tuesday: a second-place showing in New York. Within two hours of the polls closing, Kasich had decisively pushed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) into third place statewide. In a handful of congressional districts, Kasich was holding Donald Trump below the 50 percent threshold, meaning he would earn pledged delegates for the first time in 34 days; Cruz was heading for a wipeout.
By any normal standard, Trump was the winner — by a landslide. But a few hours earlier, Kasich was telling voters in Maryland — which votes in one week — that everything was going according to plan. A questioner at an Annapolis town hall meeting, one of 600 people who saw Kasich on Tuesday evening, asked how Kasich could overcome his delegate deficit. Didn't a candidate need to win eight states before the party rules let him compete?
"Even if they create rules, it doesn't really matter," said Kasich. "Nobody's going to get enough delegates. I mean, the Trump organization is complaining all the time about this and that. You know why? Because they know they won't have enough delegates to win on the first ballot, and then we're going to be deadlocked."
Kasich pledges to be 'normal guy' if he wins presidency
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich pledged to be a "normal guy" if he is elected president, as he predicts he could be selected by delegates at the Republican convention. (Reuters)As Cruz has grasped for the #NeverTrump scepter, he has argued that he's only candidate who can defeat Trump outright before the end of the primaries. Kasich has argued that neither he nor Cruz can pull it off. The New York result was not so much a triumph for Kasich as for his argument, that Cruz would be unable to clinch the nomination if he was blown out in the late April primaries across the Northeast.
"We defeated Cruz soundly after he was supposed to have momentum," said Kasich strategist John Weaver after the New York results rolled in. "We will defeat him next week as well, as his brand of divisive politics has left him in a narrow lane."
In Wisconsin, where Kasich tumbled below his poll numbers, he had to contend with a #NeverTrump movement coalescing around Cruz, and the pro-Cruz Club for Growth even running ads against him. There was none of that in New York, and Kasich benefited. In exit polls, 39 percent of voters who decided in the final few days broke for Kasich. Twenty-four percent of voters said that Kasich was the most electable candidate, actually an improvement from Wisconsin. And while just 27 percent of Republican voters said the party should nominate "the best candidate" over the delegate leader in a contested convention, that subgroup broke for Kasich by 32 points.
In Maryland, where polling has suggested a more competitive race among Trump, Kasich and Cruz, there's some openness to Kasich's theory of the race. Boyds resident Nick Kalargyros, 52, an IT consultant and registered Democrat, said Kasich is his preferred candidate, regardless of party. “I’m feeling him out, but I think he’s the only candidate that I trust and that I would probably vote for,” he said. “I’m here to make up my mind. I’m a Democrat, but he’s giving me a good alternative choice. Right now, it’s between Hillary and John for me.”
Kalargyros said he is resigned to the existing nomination system, despite recent frustrations among Trump and Sanders supporters over delegates ignoring the popular vote when they choose a candidate.
“Right now, it’s how the system works,” he said. “They should play by the rules at this point, and then we should have discussions about whether it makes sense to change it.”
Cliff Myers, a 58-year-old insurance underwriter from Annapolis, said all the candidates should have known the rules before entering the nominating contest.
“That was the deck when they all started the race,” he said. “It strikes me as a little bit of sour grapes that things haven’t come as some people would like. Kasich knows what the rules are, and I hope he can rise as the adult in the room when the convention comes.”
Arnold resident Beth Hymas, a 29-year-old makeup artist and registered Republican, said she wanted Kasich to win the nomination, regardless of whether it is by popular vote or a brokered convention.
“Of all the candidates, he’s the most qualified to be president,” she said. “Anything that would help him get the nomination would be a good thing.”
John Kasich ate his way through the New York primary
Retail stops are a standard part of campaigning. But in New York, John Kasich made eating a big priority. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)Kasich was hoping that New York would alter the narrative just enough to encourage voters like them — and to peel strategic anti-Trump voters away from Cruz. He campaigned more extensively than either of his rivals, and was first up with TV ads, one of them knocking Cruz for demeaning "New York values" as liberal. As a result, he was on the cusp of holding Trump below 50 percent in the 5th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 20th and 24th congressional districts, earning six delegates. In the 12th District, which includes east Manhattan and the Trump Tower, Kasich was less than 200 votes from defeating Trump outright.
Cruz, who frequently left the New York campaign trail for successful delegate-hunting trips in convention states, ended up leading Kasich in just two districts. In the 9th District, where Cruz campaigned for Orthodox Jewish votes and held a widely covered Matzoh-rolling event, he hit 25 percent — his highest number in the city. In the 15th District, a section of the Bronx where both Cruz and Kasich campaigned for the small number of Republican votes, Cruz won out again. But Trump easily cleared 50 percent of the vote in both districts, shutting out Kasich and Cruz.
In doing so, Trump came closer to confirming one of Kasich's favorite arguments. Two weeks ago, at one of his first New York stops, Kasich told the small posse of reporters trailing him that it was "mathematically impossible" for either him or Cruz to beat Trump in pledged delegates. Two weekend conventions followed. Cruz claimed 18 new delegates out of North Dakota and 14 out of Wyoming, telling audiences that he was rolling over Trump. On Tuesday night, facing a bigger bank of cameras than ever follows Kasich, Trump couldn't resist bragging.
“Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated," said Trump.