Ohio Gov. John Kasich made another trip to New Hampshire this week and is sounding more and more like a 2020 presidential candidate.
He has not officially said one way or the other on whether he will run again, but after eyeballing the midterm election results Kasich says he sees an opening for an independent or third-party candidate.
Kasich finished second in the pivotal New Hampshire primary in 2016. He has traveled to the state twice this year, most recently this week, when he was positioned himself as a moderate with a message of “healing” for America.
“I’m encouraged every time I come back here,” he told reporters in Concord before meeting with supporters. “I know everybody’s wondering how I’m going to make a decision, when I’m going to make a decision. I don’t know, but what’s most important to me is that I can have a voice that can be a healing voice for the country.”
Kasich told reporters that all options remain on the table in terms of what party he will side with, meaning that he could run as a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent.
“I think there’s a vast ocean in the middle,” he said. “The middle has been numb, they didn’t know what to do. But they did something they haven’t done in 100 years, they voted. They turned out in unbelievable numbers to say we’ve had enough.
“Where that takes us, I can’t quite tell. But if you have this big ocean in the middle, there’s perhaps a chance for something that’s unique in American history.”
Kasich clarified his position later in Manchester, where The Associated Press reported on his comments about the rapid pace of automation and medical advancement.
He spoke of “fundamental political change” as a possible ancillary to the advances in technology.
“In an era of all this change, why wouldn’t we think there could be fundamental political change?” he said. “The day will come, I think. When it will happen, I don’t know.”
Kasich has been extremely critical of President Donald Trump, and he told AP that the president will have a hard time getting re-elected. Kasich argued that the midterm elections showed the Republican Party needs to change its message on separating families at the border, health care and other issues.
“To me, there is a very positive message. And that is: Americans don’t want the negativity. They don’t want the chaos. They don’t want the divide,” he said.
While Trump runs against the media, which he says is an enemy of the people, Kasich is trying the opposite approach.
“The press is the one thing that holds the rich and the powerful accountable so we normal citizens can make up our minds about the current state of affairs, about our culture, about the world, about what we can do, and think and take action about,” Kasich said at the annual First Amendment Awards given by Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in New Hampshire.
Kasich noted that while many Republican governors lost, Ohio elected another Republican to replace him.
“Why is that? A big factor is because no one was left behind in the state over the last eight years,” he said. “People in Ohio feel pretty good. They’re not angry. They don’t feel left out. They feel like why would I change, we’re going in the right direction.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.