This Midwestern governor has gotten tough on labor unions, preaches a fiscally conservative message and could be a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.
No, not union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, often touted for national office. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich, an 18-year congressional veteran who, if he wins a second term as governor, in November 2014, would be a plausible GOP White House candidate two years later.
Kasich, 61, was elected Ohio's governor in 2010 after defeating incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland. As the 2014 Almanac of American Politics writes:
A former chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, Kasich was at the center of his party's budget-balancing confrontations with President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. He was in the thick of controversy on fiscal matters when as governor he called for drastic reductions in the size and cost of state government.
As governor, Kasich immediately made clear his willingness to break with the previous administration. He rejected a passenger rail line through the state that Strickland had pushed, calling it a waste of taxpayer money. He joined other new GOP governors in seeking to curtail the influence of public employee unions, calling for a ban on strikes by teachers and embracing a limit on collective bargaining.
All that adds up to a strong candidacy for 2016, if Kasich chooses to run, according to conservative activist Van Hipp. "Kasich, the son of a mailman, is also the grandson of Croatian immigrants," Hipp wrote recently on FOXNews.com. "He's a blue-collar Republican who feels as much at home in a bowling alley - drinking a beer and eating chicken wings - as he does when he gives a rousing speech about entrepreneurial capitalism that can bring the local Chamber of Commerce crowd to its feet."
"Since 1964, voters in the Buckeye State have correctly picked the winning presidential candidate in 12 consecutive elections. There's a reason President Obama went into Ohio 12 times in 2010 to campaign against Kasich. With a record for balancing the federal budget and now, the undisputed economic success of the 'Ohio miracle,' it all adds up to trouble for Democrats in 2014 and 2016. National Democrats know that Kasich's 'blue collar Republicanism' is hard to beat."
Kasich has been coy about a 2016 presidential run. But he's shown interest in the past. In 1999, he formed a presidential exploratory committee. But, according to the Almanac, "he faced huge obstacles, including fundraising, his often-undisciplined personality, and his association with the by-then unpopular [former House Speaker Newt] Gingrich. He abandoned his bid by July of that year. He left the House in 2001 and took a job as managing director of financial giant Lehman Brothers."
Politix, and via the Almanac of American Politics, and FOXNews.com.