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May 6, 2015 2:26 PM

Steinhauser: Cash crucial for a Kasich 2016 presidential run

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – For John Kasich, it’s simple.

“If we get the money, in all likelihood I’ll run. And if we don’t get the money I won’t,” the Ohio governor told NH1 News Tuesday.

Asked about the deciding factors in his decision on whether he launches a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Kasich added that “you gotta tell people what you’re doing. You gotta tell them who you are. You gotta ask them for money. Either they give or they don’t. I can’t force them to give.”

Kasich launched a testing the waters campaign about two weeks ago, which first reported by NH1 News. Asked how the progress is coming, Kasich said “I feel pretty good about it but we’ve got a long way to go to cross the line that we’ve set for ourselves, or my team has set for me, to see whether this is viable.”

“I think so far the reception’s been fine. I’ve been in politics a long time. I can kind of judge whether we’re making progress or not, but at the end of the day if we don’t have the money we’re not going to do it.”

NH1 News spoke with Kasich one-on-one minutes before the Ohio governor met with a bunch of business leaders and state representatives at an event at the Barley House, across the street from the state capitol building in Concord. The trip was Kasich’s third to the first-in-the-nation primary state over the past couple of months. His late March visit to the Granite State was his first since he briefly ran for president in the 2000 election cycle.

“I came here 16, 17, years ago and I didn’t have enough money to buy a cup of coffee, so I don’t want to get into that again because I’m not interested in running just for the sake of running. If I can get the resources, people hear the message, if it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t I’ll be disappointed but life will go on,” Kasich told NH1 News.

Some of the other sitting governors who are expected to announce bids for the GOP nomination, like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey, have said they have to wait until after their legislative sessions over back in their home states. Kasich doesn’t feel any such constrictions.

“It doesn’t depend on the session. I can do that job, I can be a dad and I can also do this. It’s not about that. It’s whether we have the resources, plain and simple.”

Kasich’s swing through New Hampshire came one day after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, campaigning in Nevada, said that if elected to the White House, she would “go even further” than President Barack Obama did last November in granting provisional legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The former secretary of state said she would extend protections the president granted to those who entered the country before age 16, known as Dreamers, to their parents as well.

Asked whether he would go so far, Kasich said “we’ve got to solve this problem. We’re not going to put them on a bus and dump 12 million of them, and dump them at the border and say ‘get out of the bus’.”

But he added that “I would not favor citizenship but I do favor dealing with this.”

Kasich said “I wouldn’t’ take anything off the table. This is very difficult and in order to solve the immigration problem we’re going to have to have Republicans and Democrats, just like every other major issue, come together to figure out what we do, we stand on our own principles, we negotiate and solve this problem, because the more we argue and fight, the problem gets bigger.”

Asked if he would rescind Obama’s executive action if he were elected president, Kasich said “I didn’t’ like what he did. I would prefer to have a clean slate, sit down at a table and try to work with everyone to solve this problem. I would say probably I would.”

That kind of language on immigration may not please some anti-immigration conservatives who make up an important part of the base of the GOP. But that doesn’t seem to trouble Kasich.

“What you’re going to find from me, I hope, is that I don’t kind of go for ‘what does the crowd want to hear,’ I want to go for the practicality of how America can be made stronger, more unified and less divided,” Kasich added. “You know what I find, most people when they run for president they make a bunch of promises, and the they can’t keep most of them. So don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Kasich, who was re-elected in a landslide last November to a second term as Ohio governor, served 18 years in Congress earlier in his career. And one of the people he served with, former Sen. John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, recently signed up to serve as a director for Kasich’s new political committee, which is called New Day for America. Sununu told NH1 News recently that if Kasich does end up launching a presidential campaign, he’ll endorse him.

Kasich praised Sununu, saying “I love John. He and I worked together when we were both in the House of Representatives. I’ve always said that there’s no one smarter than him that I worked with in the Congress. He’s a great guy. We’re pals. Any time I can have him it makes me better, because he’s a class act and he’s a son of New Hampshire”

Tuesday, Sununu’s younger brother, Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, talked with Kasich at the Concord event. But Chris Sununu told NH1 News that he isn’t making any endorsement at this time in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.


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