John Kasich

If Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, swept into a second term with a massive re-election win in November, truly does have presidential ambitions, a very large monkey wrench was thrown into the mix this week.

Jeb Bush – the former Florida governor, son of one president and brother of another – did what GOP political operatives and big-time contributors have been waiting for. He announced – via a Facebook post – that he is exploring the possibility of becoming a candidate for the 2016 GOP nomination.

Early last Tuesday morning – the first day of early in-person voting at Ohio’s boards of elections – we stopped by the Hamilton County Board of Elections downtown fully expecting to see a line of voters eager to cast the first ballots in the 2014 election.

In past years – particularly gubernatorial and presidential elections – there have been long lines outside the board’s offices on Broadway, sometimes stretching around the block. Sometimes, people would camp out overnight on the sidewalk to be first in line.

Not this time.

Every sign points to a blow-out in the Ohio governor’s race, with Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald going down to a massive defeat at the hands of Republican incumbent John Kasich.

You never know what might happen to turn that around, but the polls show it coming – a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Ohio voters last week had FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, down by 22 percentage point with about five weeks left.

Even worse, one in four Democratic voters polled by Quinnipiac said they plan to vote for Kasich.

With less than five weeks to go before election day, the Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, Ed FitzGerald, trails Republican incumbent John Kasich by 22 percentage points, according to an independent poll released Wednesday.

Perhaps the worst news in Quinnipiac University’s poll of likely Ohio voters is that one out of four Democrats surveyed said they would vote for the Republican Kasich.

For the first time since 1978, Ohioans will vote for governor without having a chance to hear the two major party candidates go head-to-head in a debate.

That’s nine gubernatorial election cycles ago, folks.

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