Ohio Gov. John Kasich, after months of organizing and stumping in early primary and caucus states – will make it official on July 21 at Ohio State University: He is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
The 63-year-old governor will announce in a speech at the Ohio Union on the campus of his alma mater; and he will follow it up with an announcement tour through Michigan, South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou said he has been invited to the July 21 campaign kick-off; and said he believes Kasich will be a top-tier candidate in a crowded field of GOP presidential contenders.
“It’s a wide open field; no one candidate dominates,’’ Triantafilou said. “There is a good story that can be told by the governor of a successful state that can help separate him from the pack.”
Kasich’s experience in the 1990s as House Budget chairman and his four-and-half years as governor of a state that will be a key battleground state in the presidential election will help, Triantafilou said.
“Based on resume alone, this guy’s got what it takes to be president,’’ Triantafilou said.
Kasich was back on a Sunday morning talk show yesterday – this time CBS’ Face the Nation, where he was asked once again when he might officially join the crowded Republican presidential field.
“We’re getting awfully close to making a decision,’’ Kasich said.
On Face the Nation, Kasich said he had run for governor to fix what he viewed were Ohio’s problems.
“Now I can go out and tell my story and hopefully the polls will rise,’’ Kasich said. “We’ll see.”
And Kasich needs a boost to be among the top ten candidates who will make the first GOP presidential debate set for Aug. 6 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland – the site of the 2016 Republican nominating convention.
FOX News, co-sponsor of the debate with Facebook, has said it will take an average of five national polls on Aug. 4. The top 10 finishers will be invited to participate.
Right now, Kasich does not qualify in any of the national independent polls, polling at one to three percent support.
John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said the groundwork Kasich has laid and the July 21 campaign kick-off could give him a bump in the polling that would qualify him for the debate.
Green said Kasich will immediately be taken seriously as a presidential contender.
“He has real accomplishments to point to,” Green said. “You can compare his resume to others in the race, and his is very similar to a lot of them.”
Green said he would expect that Kasich will campaign on a theme of turning an $8 billion state budget deficit into a $2 billion surplus without raising taxes.
If there is a downside, Green said, it is the difficulty of running for president while holding a full time job as the governor of a major state.
“It’s a little more difficult for a governor than a senator, because a governor is involved in making policy decisions,’’ Green said.