With Governor John Kasich (R) winning a decisive victory last Tuesday night, his outlook as a potential 2016 candidate just got a little better. Kasich’s name has not been on many short lists of potential candidates but he’s got several things going for him. For starters, he’s Governor of Ohio, a crucial swing state which typically goes to the party that wins the White House. It’s so important, in fact, that no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. In this case, Kasich has a head start and good Midwestern appeal. Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R) also represents another candidate with statewide appeal in the Buckeye State and some observers see no reason why he shouldn’t be considered a viable candidate along with Kasich.
Report from the Columbus Dispatch:
Gov. John Kasich’s smashing re-election win and Sen. Rob Portman’s key role in helping Republicans seize control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday have propelled both Ohio Republicans into legitimate status as contenders, albeit underdogs, for the presidency in 2016.
“They’re both dark horses in this thing, but they’re both in it if they want to be,” said Kyle Kondik, an Ohioan who is now managing editor of the nationally respected Sabato’s Crystal Ball website at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Neither starts as anything close to a favorite, but the field is just so jumbled, I think, that a lot of people are looking at it and saying, ‘Why not me?’??”
John Feehery, a one-time aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said, “They are both viable candidates. You have the GOP convention in Cleveland, and if you don’t win Ohio, you don’t win the White House, so it makes sense to have someone from that state running.”
Although neither Ohioan has made an overt move to enter the race, both have sent signals that they are at least interested.
As noted in the story, the 2016 Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland, Ohio. What better way to propel a candidate to the White House than selecting one from the home team? On the other hand, does Kasich or Portman really have enough capital to overcome the powerhouse candidates like Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, or Ted Cruz?