New polling released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University in Iowa, the first 2016 primary state, shows that among the 14 GOP candidates whose names are bandied around as Hillary slayers, Ohio Gov. John Kasich can’t move past 2 percentage points, tying him with the likes of Carly Fiorina, the failed CEO who lost her only race for elected office, and Rick Santorum, a former whackadoodle GOP senator from Pennsylvania.
Last year, when the incumbent governor purposely did not hold a campaign announcement event to show how unorthodoxy he is, he strolled to an easy win over a Democratic challenger who was largely unknown to voters statewide, even though he had a history of election wins in his home county of Cuyahoga.
Kasich’s ‘Ed FitzGerald’ Problem
Gov. Kasich routinely boasts about his big win in a low-turnout election last year, which was accomplished large part from tremendously lopsided, favorably treatment of him and his policies by Ohio media, while Ed FitzGerald, Gov. Kasich’s Democratic opponent, was regularly roasted over missteps and misdeeds that on hindsight helped doom his campaign. FitzGerald, a former FBI special agent, mayor and county executive at the time, didn’t have the money to boost his name recognition among Buckeye State voters. The governor, whose career in politics is nearing four decades, was a household name while FitzGerald’s was barely known.
With Republican White House hopefuls jumping into the race every other day nowadays—Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiornina and Ben Carson just that this week—the peek-a-boo campaign Mr. Kasich is running becomes weaker by the day, and with each succeeding poll, which shows he barely registers with voters. Kasich used FitzGerald failing campaign as an excuse to not debate him, breaking a long tradition of governors and challengers standing on stage with each other and responding to questions voters could use to decide who to vote for.
Outflanked On All Flanks
Playing coy, as the governor likes to do, is not boosting his chances among the other Republcian 13 candidates hoping to win the nomination next year. Gov. Kasich is being outflanked on one issue after another, by one or more of those who won’t wilt as FitzGerald did, winnowing the field.
Ben Carson, an African-American surgeon running as the anti-Obama candidate says he’s not a politician, Mike Huckabee, a minister, speaks from the pulpit, Rand Paul speaks to libertarians, Ted Cruz courts the Tea Party, Jeb Bush hails from a dynastic political clan and is raising large sums of money, and Marco Rubio is rising fast as he uses his Hispanic roots to woo voters who overwhelmingly voted for Obama.
Then there’s Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who tops the Iowa Republican Caucus, where there’s a four-way scramble for second place, according to today’s Q-Poll. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is in seventh place with 5 percent. Gov. Walker is at 21 percent of likely GOP caucus participants, compared to 25 percent in a February 25 poll by the independent Quinnipiac University. In the scramble for second place are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 13 percent each, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 11 percent. Physician Ben Carson has 7 percent, with 5 percent for Bush. No other candidate is above 3 percent and 6 percent are undecided.
“The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy roll out, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has yet to formalize his candidacy while he amasses what most expect to be a massive fund-raising lead, runs seventh with just 5 percent of the vote.”
Go Johnny Go, If You Dare
What’s Ohio’s governor to do, now that he’s been outflanked on all flanks by others who aren’t waiting for a greenlight from God and who are declaring even though nothing is guaranteed, especially enough funds to wage a credible primary season campaign. For those of us here at Plunderbund who do pay attention to Gov. Kasich and his team, they are at their best when the deck is stacked in their favor. That’s been the case in Ohio, but, sadly, not anywhere else. As transparent as plastic wrap, Gov. Kasich’s motives clearly show he’s in it for himself and his friends, as he’s said so often.
Gov. Kasich’s notion that he’ll run if the money is there and if he’s guaranteed a path to victory is par for the course for a chief executive who embellishes his record big time, and who, for all his normal unorthodoxy, maybe left as the master of mean. A growing number of national media articles routinely depict him as rogue, off-putting jerk who has yet to learn that his tried and true GOP solutions to complex problems don’t work.
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