Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a major step toward running for president Monday, as a nonprofit to help him fund travels to explore a presidential bid registered with the IRS, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The nonprofit, called New Day for America, was set up last week, and the IRS registration allows it to start raising unlimited amounts of money, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Kasich was one of 19 possible GOP candidates who appeared Saturday in New Hampshire to address the state Republican Party’s leadership summit. The same day, he visited South Carolina, another early primary state. But the Ohio governor and former congressman and Fox host told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was still not officially a candidate.
“I still haven’t decided,” Kasich told Chuck Todd. “I’m more and more serious, or I wouldn’t be doing these things. ... The reason why I feel I should be in there is I’ve had foreign policy, national security experience. I was chairman of the Budget Committee -- we actually balanced the budget, got results and the economy got better. As governor of the state, I inherited a total mess, and at the end of the day we’re running surpluses.”
Kasich was elected governor of Ohio in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 by a more than 40-percentage-point margin in the key swing state, which led to inevitable presidential talk -- Republicans need to carry Ohio to have a realistic chance at winning the White House. Conservative on fiscal issues, Kasich has also been an advocate for the working poor and controversially supported the Medicaid expansion component of the Affordable Care Act.
As Kasich continues to test the waters for a presidential campaign, even Democrats have said he would be a formidable candidate.
“John Kasich presents an interesting option for Republicans. I think he’s somebody who very much marches to his own beat, and sometimes that ruffles Republican feathers, such as the Medicaid expansion,” Alan Melamed, an Ohio Democratic political strategist, earlier told International Business Times. “If Gov. Kasich stays with some of the approaches here in Ohio, it may present a challenge, but I think that he offers an interesting alternative, and in this stage of the game, it’s kind of open to anything.”