Popular two term Ohio Governor John Kasich will form a 527 political action committee called New Day for America next week, “which could legally function as an exploratory committee,” according to Politico. It is a will operate as a “tax-exempt political organization” under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. It would allow Kasich to raise unlimited cash to test the waters for a potential 2016 candidacy.
“Think about me, would you,” Kasich told activists at the Republican Leadership Summit in New Hampshire on Saturday. “Don’t commit too soon. Let us all have a chance to breathe and get out.”
Kasich explained to activists to that if he were to run in 2016, it would be different than his failed run against George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election. He filed an exploratory committee in February 1999 but dropped out five months later after poor fundraising. He immediately endorsed then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, who easily won the 2000 Republican nomination by carrying 43 states. His only serious challenger, U.S. Senator John McCain, won just 7 states.
“I’m not giving up my dream of wanting to be president,” he told The Washington Post in July 1999 after ending his bid.
If he decides to officially run, he would be one of most accomplished candidates in the Republican field. He was chairman of the House Budget Committee from 1995 to 2001, where he was the chief architect of the four balanced budgets, which created a surplus for the first time since 1969. He presided over four budgets that decreased by the federal debt by hundreds of billions of dollars.
In 2010, he defeated incumbent Governor Ted Strickland. Governor Kasich inherited an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent and it is now 5.1 percent, a 13-year low and below the national average.
Most notably, he closed an $8 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes. He cut nearly $3 billion in taxes by eliminating the state estate tax, slashing the small business tax by 50 percent, and reducing the personal income tax by 10 percent.
In 2014, he won re-election in an epic landslide, receiving 64 percent of the vote, a 31 point spread, in the swing state of Ohio. He carried 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties. He won all 11 of Ohio’s media markets. Most importantly, the exit polls showed that he won 56 percent of voters under the age of 30, the millennial voting bloc, and a staggering 26 percent of the black vote.
He most notably won Cleveland-based Cuyahoga County, the most populous in the state. This is despite the fact that Obama won Cuyahoga with 69 percent of the vote just two years earlier and that no Republican won the county in a presidential election since Richard Nixon in 1972. Not too mention the fact that the Democratic nominee, Ed FitzGerald, was the Cuyahoga County Executive.
Kasich was one of the earliest supporters of an Article V Convention, urging the Ohio General Assembly to pass the resolution back in August 2013. Ohio became the 20th state to pass a resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment.
Like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Governor Kasich will have to answer some difficult questions regarding his support for Medicaid expansion, Common Core, and gun control.
“We hear it in the Sermon on the Mount,” he said in response to the RINO charge, Newsmax reported. “To me that really is conservatism. Help somebody, but don’t let them be stuck where they are. Give them an opportunity to rise beyond their conditions.”
Kasich’s biggest argument is electability. After all, he remains extremely popular in the swing state of Ohio. Buckeyes have picked the winner of the past 11 presidential elections.
“I don’t think Hillary Clinton will be easy to beat,” he told New Hampshire Republicans on Saturday. “The electoral map is very tough for Republicans. I know one thing: you can’t win the White House if you don’t win Ohio.”