Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich says he is seriously considering a 2016 bid for the White House, but he’s not yet ready to officially jump in the race.
“All my options are on the table here, and I’m more and more serious, or I wouldn’t be doing these things,” Kasich said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I have a pretty heavy schedule coming up.”
Over the weekend, Kasich traveled to South Carolina and New Hampshire, two key early voting states. And the Ohio governor, who soared to re-election victory back in November, is reportedly set to launch a national political committee in the coming days, which would allow him to raise money and build support on a national level.
If Kasich decides to run, his biggest opponent could be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has positioned himself as a moderate Republican in a crowded field of potential contenders. Asked about Bush’s role in the race, Kasich focused on his own record.
“I have more experience than anybody in the field. That’s really what I have that stands out. I don’t just talk about what I want to do, I can tell people what I’ve done,” Kasich said, pointing to his experience as chairman of the House Budget Committee and his work as governor.
Kasich was one of the few Republican governors to accept Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, a move that has irked some conservatives. In fact, over the weekend in South Carolina, Kasich was met with a number of anonymous fliers accusing the governor of supporting President Obama’s agenda, according to “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd. When asked whether he is conservative enough to win the Republican presidential nomination, Kasich has previously said that “extremism” won’t win Republicans any votes in Ohio, the all-important presidential swing state.
Kasich defined extremism on Sunday as “people who want to divide with fiery rhetoric and attacks,” adding, “What people in Ohio want to know is, do you get them and their problems.”
Kasich said he needs to consult with his family and reflect spiritually before deciding whether he should run for the White House. “I’m trying to determine if this is what the lord wants. I’m not gonna figure that out laying in bed and hoping lightning strikes,” Kasich said. “So I’m out there, one foot in front another, travelling aggressively. We’ll see what happens.”
Zachary Roth contributed reporting.