Ohio Gov. John Kasich has decided to join the crowded Republican primary field and plans to announce his intentions next month. Politico, quoting Kasich advisers, said the 63-year-old self-described underdog will make his announcement July 21 at Ohio State University in Columbus, his alma mater.
Politico said Kasich plans to look less scripted than the other contenders. His advisers said he offers a conservative record that goes back to his days as a congressman as well as establishment appeal.
In an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, Kasich sidestepped the issue of whether he planned to announce a presidential bid.
"In terms of announcing, we're getting awfully close to being able to make a decision, and, look, I just want to do it if I think I have a path to win," he said.
"People say I have low poll numbers. And you know, I do, and I'll tell you why, because I came into this office to take care of our beloved Ohio. I didn't travel outside the state. I didn't go out in politic. What I wanted to do was fix Ohio."
This is not Kasich's first flirtation with a presidential run. He tried in 1999 but decided to drop out by July and endorsed George W. Bush for the 2000 Republican presidential nod.
There currently are 13 announced GOP presidential hopefuls, including heavyweights like Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Mario Rubio and Ted Cruz. Donald Trump announced his intentions earlier this month while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is expected to make his bid July 13, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has set up a campaign website and is expected to make a formal announcement soon.
Kasich's expected announcement is set just ahead of the first Republican presidential debate, scheduled for Aug. 6 in Cleveland. It was unclear whether Kasich will qualify for the top tier of candidates who will be invited to participate.
Kasich has hired John Weaver, who masterminded John McCain's campaigns in 2000 and 2008, as his chief strategist and Fred Davis as the lead consultant for his super PAC, New Day for America. Matt Carle, who orchestrated Kasich's successful re-election bid in November, was expected to play some role but that has yet to be defined.
Kasich's announcement is expected to be followed by campaign forays into Iowa, New Hampshire and other early decision states. In May, he told ABC's "This Week" he was pleased with the reaction he received in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan.
Kasich considers himself "the most experienced [candidate] in the field" as a result of his tenure as Ohio's chief executive as well as his 18 years in the U.S. House.