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Ohio Gov. Kasich Struggles Against Low Polling In Presidential Race

By [email protected] (Andrew Kreig)

John Kasich and Javier Palomarez 10-6-1 (Newseum, JIP photo by Andrew Kreig)

Ohio’s governor is on a major media blitz to boost his popularity in GOP presidential opinion polls, where he has languished despite leadership of a state vital to Republican prospects in 2016.

“No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio,” Gov. John Kasich, above left, told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Javier Palomarez during an on-stage interview Oct. 6 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The Justice Integrity Project covered the event, including the photographs for this column.

Yet Kasich, perhaps the strongest Republican in general election by such traditional measurements as experience, is struggling in the polls. He wins just 2 percent of likely GOP voters in the most recent polls for Florida and California, just 3 percent in Pennsylvania and only 13 percent in his home state of Ohio, where he enjoyed a long congressional career before Wall Street work and the governorship.

To reassure fund-raisers, he has embarked this week on a heavy travel and media schedule that included an appearance Oct. 8 on the high-rated Sean Hannity Show on Fox News. Kasich was able to hit several of his major campaign themes to the friendly interviewer.

Kevin McCarthyBut even on that show, his party’s near-chaotic in-fighting framed the discussion given the surprise announcement that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was withdrawing from what was generally expected to be election as House speaker, succeeding incumbent John Boehner (R-OH).

McCarthy, a conservative shown at right, had told his colleagues that he preferred not to assume the top leadership post with only a narrow margin.

But Fox News commentators reported that McCarthy had learned that he was not even likely to win the 218 votes needed to win the post because of fierce opposition from House Republicans even more conservative than he. That left the House with no obvious consensus choice as leader and could endanger even McCarthy’s re-election to his current post. Some Republican experts are even suggesting that the House go outside of itself to find a unifying figure because Congress does not need to be led by a member and few if any consensus choices appear willing to seek the top position, which is third in line to the presidency.

That’s the kind of upheaval Kasich seeks to overcome before he is branded a loser and forced to withdraw from the presidential race, as have two other big-state governors, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.


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