John Kasich’s model is constructed across the concept of “two paths” for the Republican Celebration: one for center-right pragmatists like him, the opposite for flamethrowers like Donald Trump.
However because the Ohio governor considers a rematch with Trump in 2020, he’s weighing two more-tactical paths. Does he problem Trump, the sitting president, in primaries the place Kasich received’t discover a lot institutional GOP help? Or does he depart the celebration, go down a route affected by ballot-access hurdles and fundraising challenges, and run as an unbiased?
Sources near Kasich’s political crew have informed BuzzFeed Information in current weeks that each choices are in play. Deliberate or not, Kasich’s strikes because the 2018 midterms method replicate that. In Massachusetts, his still-active Kasich for America committee and Doug Preisse, one in all his longtime advisers, have donated to Rick Inexperienced, who’s looking for an open Home seat as a Republican. In California, Kasich has inspired Steve Poizner, who this week launched a marketing campaign for state insurance coverage commissioner as an unbiased.
Kasich and his crew are figuring out different midterm races the place he may be useful, return the favor to those that backed his 2016 White Home bid, and gather chits for 2020.
“We’ve talked about it, however there have been no choices made,” Bob Klaffky, a member of Kasich’s internal circle, stated in an interview this week. “If there are folks on the market he believes in, they usually ask for assist, and he needs to do it, then he’ll do it.”
Others near Kasich warning in opposition to seeing the tea leaves pointing to 2020 in such exercise. They observe that Inexperienced and Poizner supported Kasich prior to now, and that any funding of their races mustn’t essentially be considered as constructing blocks for an additional presidential run.
Kasich has been pissed off with the Republican Celebration since shedding its nomination to Trump two years in the past. Earlier this month — when the New Hampshire GOP chair responded to phrase of an upcoming Kasich go to to the nation’s first major state by pledging to help the president — Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, acknowledged ideas about an unbiased run. “Why,” he questioned, “does everybody assume the one choice is operating in a GOP major?”
“I feel we’re all watching issues carefully,” Klaffky stated this week. “That is simply my opinion, however I feel the time may very well be proper for an unbiased bid. I feel there’s a rising center.”
Kasich mentioned Poizner’s plans to wage a nonpartisan bid for insurance coverage commissioner — a publish he was elected to as a Republican a decade in the past — earlier than his announcement Monday, a Poizner adviser informed BuzzFeed Information. It’s not but sure how a lot Kasich will do for Poizner, who was a nationwide co-chair of his 2016 marketing campaign. Additionally of observe: Weaver wrote a December visitor column for the Kansas Metropolis Star selling Greg Orman as an unbiased candidate for Kansas governor. (Neither Weaver nor Kasich is concerned with Orman’s crew.)
A viable unbiased presidential bid can be difficult. Kasich would want the assets to win poll entry in all 50 states and to promote a message that breaks by means of the normal two-party system. However fundraising past Ohio at all times has been a problem for Kasich, and he doesn’t have the non-public wealth that businesspeople corresponding to Poizner and Orman carry to their campaigns. Poizner, a former Silicon Valley government, was a prime donor to Kasich in 2016. However Kasich would want many extra like him to bankroll an unbiased 2020 effort.
“The authorized hurdles you may get over,” Klaffky stated. “It’s the cash” that’s an enormous problem.
Kasich’s curiosity in New Hampshire and neighboring Massachusetts, the place the Boston media market reaches a lot of New Hampshire, suggests groundwork for a Republican major — an choice that could be extra seemingly if Trump for no matter motive doesn’t search a second time period. He’ll go to New England School on April three, and this week he was booked because the Might commencement speaker at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Faculty of Authorities.
His crew additionally retains in contact with previous New Hampshire aides, together with Dante Vitagliano, his former operations director within the state.
However Kasich’s tenuous standing within the GOP — Trump is fashionable among the many celebration rank and file, and lots of stay upset that Kasich by no means supported him — means his assist shouldn’t be at all times wished. A number of Republicans working for 2018 candidates who backed Kasich in 2016 acknowledged Kasich help may do extra hurt than good. Even in Ohio, the place Kasich is term-limited however enjoys excessive approval rankings, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor has downplayed his endorsement of her as she makes an attempt to attain an upset in a gubernatorial major.
Kasich may very well be extra of an asset in Massachusetts, the place Inexperienced is operating to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas. Gov. Charlie Baker, a reasonable Republican, carried the district in 2014, giving GOP leaders hope that they’ll choose up the seat with the proper candidate. Inexperienced chaired Kasich’s presidential marketing campaign within the state, and Vitagliano is managing Inexperienced’s bid. Kasich’s committee has donated $5,000 to Inexperienced. Preisse chipped in $1,000.
“I don’t have any ballot numbers on that,” Vitagliano replied when requested if a Kasich marketing campaign go to can be welcome. “However we definitely admire the governor’s assist for Rick’s marketing campaign.”