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Aug 12, 2015 1:21 AM

Steinhauser: Kasich tells NH1News he's getting a rush of volunteers; lands major NH backer

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – John Kasich says he has a problem. A problem that any presidential candidate would love to have.

The Ohio governor, who’s rising in the polls in the race for the GOP nomination, told NH1 News on Tuesday that “I got the word today that we’re getting an awful lot of volunteers who we’re not absorbing very well. That we don’t have the infrastructure right now, that we need to build out, to solve this, because people want to help and we want them to be involved, so we gotta figure out exactly how to do that,” Kasich said.

“But that’s a good problem to have, that we have a lot of people that want to volunteer and I’m humbled by it really, and we’ll fix that problem,” he added.

Kasich spoke with NH1 News hours before his campaign announced that former New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath, a longtime GOP consultant who’s served as a top adviser to five previous Republican presidential campaigns, is endorsing the Ohio governor and serve as a senior national adviser and Granite State co-chairman.

As Kasich arrived in the first-in-the-nation primary state Tuesday for a two-day swing, a new survey of people likely to vote in next February’s GOP primary indicated Kasich rising into double digits. According to Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald, Kasich was at 12%, trailing only front-runner Donald Trump (18%) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (13%). The poll was conducted entirely after last Thursday’s Republican presidential debate. Kasich won positive reviews from his performance in the showdown in Cleveland, which was the first Republican debate this cycle.

Asked what he’s doing right, Kasich, said “I don’t know. I’m just telling people about my record and the way I think about things and what I think we need to do in the future and you know I love this format here. I love these town hall meetings. I’m sure I’m going to run into one where I’m going to do terrible but at this point it’s all been going pretty well. I’ve always felt that people now want to know not what your promises are but what have you done. And so I constantly talk about my record and about the way I kind of think and then we just go from there.”

In early June, some six weeks before he launched his campaign, Kasich told NH1 News “we want to see if we can get the resources and the organization to win. I’m not doing this to write a book or get a television show or anything else. Either you win or you don’t do it.”

Asked Tuesday how the fundraising was going, Kasich said “I don’t know. You know I haven’t checked on it. I guess the minute they tell me we can’t eat lunch here, it will send a signal to me. But I don’t know. I made phone calls and then I got people who raise money. I think we’re doing OK.”

Kasich spoke with NH1 News before having lunch at the Barley House in downtown Concord. Kasich kicked off his latest Granite State visit Tuesday with a bunch of private meetings before holding a town hall in Peterborough. Wednesday he holds another town hall in Derry.

A strong finish in New Hampshire is crucial to Kasich’s hopes of winning the GOP nomination. The Ohio governor’s been a frequent visitor to the Granite State this spring and summer.

“I’m here at the Barley House and “somebody said ‘where do you want to eat’ and I said ‘why don’t we eat at the Barley House.’ I already know the name of the place, right. So that means that I’m starting to get real acquainted here,” Kasich said.

Kasich won praise at the debate in Cleveland for comments on attending a friend’s same sex marriage. Asked how he can square that visit with his personal belief in traditional marriage, Kasich said “it’s not hard. I believe in traditional marriage. The court has ruled that we’re not going to recognize just one type of marriage anymore and that’s the end of it as I’m concerned. You know I pointed out that I had gone to a gay wedding, a friend of mine. And I respect them and that’s OK, we can disagree on traditional versus, but it’s over, it’s over with, so we move on to the next thing. We’ve got enough things that we are divided on in the country. We ought to start thinking about more things that we can be united. And people have reacted of all stripes, favorably to those comments and they just kind of popped out of my head. It wasn’t anything I spent a lot of time thinking about, which is good I didn’t screw up the answer.”

Asked whether his stance on gun control is conservative enough for many Granite State firearms owners, Kasich said “I’ve gotten an A plus from the NRA since I’ve been governor and I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I don’t want to erode that. People have a right to keep their guns to protect themselves, to hunt, to do all kind of things. So if they’re worried about what President Kasich would do about the 2nd Amendment or their guns, you’ve got nothing to worry about. We’re not going to start trying to take them away or do things that make no sense.”

Unlike some of his rivals for the nomination, Kasich as very reserved when it comes to criticizing front runner Donald Trump.

Asked by NH1 News why, Kasich said “I don’t talk about anybody else. I’m like a golfer who pays attention to my own game, not to somebody else’s and look, if I’m talking about somebody else, I’m not talking about balancing the federal budget, I was the chief architect, cutting taxes, fixing Ohio. I mean that’s what I want to talk about.”

The landing of Rath is a high profile addition in the Granite State for Kaisch. Rath served as a national adviser to the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Bob Dole, Lamar Alexander and Howard Baker. Rath also served as one of New Hampshire’s committeemen to the Republican National Committee from 1996-2000 and 2002-2007.

"Our country needs Governor Kasich," said Rath, in a statement. "He has a proven track record of balancing the federal budget, reforming our military and turning around one of our nation's largest states

"We're thrilled to have Tom join our team," said fmr. Sen. John Sununu, Kasich's New Hampshire campaign chair. "His expertise nationally and in New Hampshire will help our campaign build on the momentum we've established in New Hampshire and after the first debate.


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