Ka­sich pon­ders an­other pres­i­den­tial run

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Drow­land@ dis­patch. com @ dar­reldrow­land

JDar­rel Row­land

ohn Ka­sich is go­ing back to New Hamp­shire this week as the timetable short­ens on when he must de­cide whether he’s go­ing to do more than just talk the talk about run­ning for pres­i­dent.

The lame- duck Ohio gover­nor will be the fea­tured speaker Thurs­day at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions 16th an­nual First Amend­ment Awards in Manch­ester.

Nei­ther Ka­sich nor his po­lit­i­cal ad­viser, John Weaver, would talk about the trip to the state that tra­di­tion­ally holds the first pres­i­den­tial pri­mary — only around 15 months away. But the Con­cord Mon­i­tor says Ka­sich will con­duct me­dia in­ter­views and hold a se­ries of meet­ings with 2016 sup­port­ers and other New Hamp­shire Repub­li­cans in the hours lead­ing up to the awards din­ner.

Ka­sich was men­tioned as a pos­si­ble can­di­date Fri­day in an in­ter­view with Politico and The Hill by out­go­ing Ari­zona Sen. Jeff Flake, an­other an­tag­o­nist of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump who also could run. Flake said Ka­sich ap­pears to be build­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion to chal­lenge Trump.

Ka­sich can take com­fort in the con­tin­ued orner­i­ness of New Hamp­shire vot­ers.

A poll by AP VoteCast re­leased last week showed that 60 per­cent of them dis­ap­prove of how Trump is han­dling his job.

And the Ohio gover­nor also has a friend in New Hamp­shire Gov. Chris Su­nunu, for whom he cam­paigned.

Ka­sich, who de­parts of­fice in mid- Jan­uary, fin­ished a clear but dis­tant sec­ond to Trump in the state’s Fe­bru­ary 2016 GOP pri­mary.

That op­ti­mistic start was quickly crushed not only in South­ern states but in places like Michi­gan, where he cam­paigned heav­ily but fin­ished third.

Even Ka­sich’s’ most ar­dent sup­port­ers have dif­fi­culty see­ing how he gets by Trump, a sit­ting pres­i­dent who will be staunchly de­fended by GOP or­ga­ni­za­tions in most states.

So per­haps Ka­sich’s best hope is a “what if,” as in what if Trump is mor­tally wounded by Robert Mueller’s probe or some other event not fore­seen now?

How­ever, even un­der that sce­nario, would a Trump critic like Ka­sich be viewed as the first al­ter­na­tive?

Then there is talk of a Ka­sich run as an in­de­pen­dent. Ex­perts unan­i­mously ex­press skep­ti­cism — the lo­gis­tics of qual­i­fy­ing for the var­i­ous state bal­lots alone is daunt­ing — that such an op­tion is real­is­tic de­spite the dis­gust ex­pressed by the pub­lic with both ma­jor­ity par­ties.

Plus there’s that lit­tle fac­tor called money, a short­com­ing Ka­sich couldn’t over­come in 2016.

To sum up: Ka­sich seem­ingly needs both Trump and his brand to top­ple far enough that an old- line, Trump- bash­ing con­ser­va­tive be­comes ap­peal­ing enough to at­tract both money and votes.

Cor­dray gets more votes than Ka­sich, Taft

Demo­crat Richard Cor­dray rang up the fifth­high­est num­ber of votes ever cast for Ohio gover­nor in Tues­day’s elec­tion.

But it’s no con­so­la­tion since Repub­li­can Mike DeWine at­tracted the third- largest num­ber of votes in state his­tory in an elec­tion that at­tracted 4.4 mil­lion Ohioans — the high­est- ever num­ber of midterm vot­ers.

DeWine recorded 2.187 mil­lion votes to Cor­dray’s 2.005 mil­lion ( be­fore pro­vi­sional bal­lots and late- ar­riv­ing mail bal­lots are counted), re­porter Randy Lud­low found — with an as­sist from Mike Daw­son’s ohio­elec­tion­re­sults. com.

Demo­crat Ted Strick­land to­taled the high­est num­ber in 2006 ( 2.435 mil­lion) in swamp­ing Repub­li­can J. Ken­neth Black­well. Repub­li­can Ge­orge V. Voinovich ranks sec­ond ( 2.401 mil­lion) with his 1994 de­mo­li­tion of Demo­crat Rob Burch.

Demo­crat Frank Lausche is No. 4 ( 2.015 mil­lion) with his 1952 win over Repub­li­can Charles Taft.

Per­cent­age- wise, DeWine’s 50.7 per­cent share of the vote in his 4.3 per­cent­age point win doesn’t rate. It was only the 39th- high­est win­ning per­cent­age recorded in Ohio gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions.

Cor­dray, by the way, to­taled more votes than Ka­sich did in ei­ther of his two win­ning cam­paigns: 1.889 mil­lion in 2010 over Strick­land and 1.944 mil­lion in his 2014 romp over Demo­crat Ed FitzGer­ald. And Cor­dray also re­ceived more than Gov. Bob Taft in his pair of cam­paigns, too.

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