Is it really beyond belief that Ohio’s lame duck governor and losing presidential candidate this year, who’s widely known for his petulant and crusty personality, would let Wright State University lose hosting rights for the first presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle?
Ohio media that routinely coddles Mr. Kasich will never ask the question. But it’s more than curious that John Kasich’s pet job creation outfit, the super secret JobsOhio that he said when he first ran for governor in 2010 that he would become chairman of, doled out $10 million to the Republican National Committee for its presidential nominating meeting in Cleveland when Mr. Kasich and his PR handlers once thought he would be the candidate crowned the nominee.
Leading the list of contributors of $1 million or more to the RNC event in July was JobsOhio with a $10 million contribution. The second highest contribution, an in-kind donation from AT&T was just $4.3 million. Others on the list included the follow contributors:
Cisco Systems [in-kind]: $2M
City of Cleveland: $2m
County of Cuyahoga, $2m
Microsoft [in-kind]: $1.8M
Jones Day: $1.5M
Sheldon Adelson: $1.5M
FirstEnergy Corp: $1.3
Economic Growth Foundation: $1.26M
Marathon Petroleum: $1.2M
American Petroleum Institute: $1M
Anthem Blue Cross: $1M
Cavaliers Operating Company LLC [in-kind]: $1M
Empower Ohio: $1M
Fifth Third Bank: $1M
The world will be watching tonight’s first presidential debate from Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, instead of Wright State University in Ohio. WSU gave up the prestige of hosting the first presidential debate when it couldn’t come up with $6 million to flesh out its funding to cover all costs.
Back on July 19, the Dayton Daily News reported that WSU’s President David Hopkins, citing rising security costs and underpeforming fundraising to cover the figure that had pushed past $8 million, announced the university would withdraw from hosting the first presidential debate in September
WSU would lose, according to some estimates, about $14 million in economic impact for the immediate area, DDN reported, adding the backdrop to the decision was mired the institution’s declining reserve funds. Reports on its economic troubles centered on the next two years, when forecasts showed it would undertake a reduction in its budget of $27.7 million, including $8 million through staff attrition.
For those who have followed John Kasich over his nearly 40 years in politics, a span of time that’s brought him fame and fortune, it’s not a stretch to imagine him turning a cold shoulder to WSU since he wouldn’t be the GOP nominee. The $10 million contribution to the RNC from JobsOhio, a group he created that has a billion or more of revenue to spend for economic development purposes, stands out even more as a decision that Gov. Kasich would have approved at a time when he was in the mix of the race. No Kasich watcher can put it past the temperamental CEO-style leader to squash such an event since he wouldn’t be participating in it as anything more than a face in the crowd. He showed his peculiar pique when he refused to attend the RNC’s convention in Cleveland after Donald Trump was a shoe-in to win the nomination.