At this point, if you’ve ever wanted to be President at any point in your life, up to (and including) that time in Kindergarten where you were asked to draw your future career and your teacher forced you to choose President because, it turns out, being a fire truck wasn’t a real option, now is the time to declare your intention and file your official paperwork. The clown car still has some room for anyone willing to squeeze into the middle seat (Donald Trump isn’t worried about you crushing his hair, anyway, since he says he’ll debut a brand new ‘do for his inevitable inauguration).
John Kasich, not content to restrict his moderate conservatism and spiceless personality to the boundaries of the state of Ohio, is the latest in a series of unliklies to take the plunge, despite no evidence that anyone knows who he is or cares that he’s interested in being the Commander in Chief.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will jump into the crowded Republican presidential field on July 21 at the student union at his alma mater, The Ohio State University, in Columbus, advisers tell POLITICO.
Kasich, 63, who was overwhelmingly reelected in November, will aim to appear less scripted and guarded than the leading candidates. Advisers say he combines establishment appeal with a conservative record going back to his stint as House Budget Committee chairman, during his 18 years as a congressman from Ohio.
Despite his late start, Kasich will be one of the most closely watched candidates — partly because Ohio is such a crucial presidential state, putting Kasich on many short lists for vice president.
As dismissive and pessimistic as I’m being about a Kasich campaign, he’s actually considered a viable contender. Most Americans ultimately prefer their President to be on the moderate side, standing for little, so that they can project their own independent beliefs on the office. And his position as a swing state superstar (at least, insofar as Ohio has any “superstars” that aren’t co-hosting a once-yearly Amish-centric DIY show with Vanilla Ice), gives him value as a running mate. Ohio has been a narrow loss for Republicans of late, even despite the GOP literally pouring money into television ads to play between episodes of Matlock. It’s full of suburban moms with minivans, embroidered sweatshirts and soccer schedules, who like to think they’re liberal because the pushed the PTA to offer a free school lunch program, who are notoriously difficult to court, especially in this cycle, where their grand duchess of limousine progressivism, Hillary Clinton is right there in the mix.
The problem with Kasich is that no one in Ohio really likes him. Several times now, he’s just been the least offensive candidate in a field of offensive candidates. But he has an industrial state, where the GOP convention will be held, a cozy relationship with Jeb Bush, and a slightly less controversial tenure than Scott Walker, whose official announcement Kasich’s will follow by about a week. He’s definitely in the running for second place.
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