Gov. Kasich speaks at the First in the Nation Summit in Nashua, NH
Photo credit: Michael Vardon (CC-By-SA 4.0)
Gov. Kasich speaks at the First in the Nation Summit in Nashua, NHPhoto credit: Michael Vardon (CC-By-SA 4.0)
Gov. Kasich speaks at the First in the Nation Summit in Nashua, NH
Photo credit: Michael Vardon (CC-By-SA 4.0)

Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) will be in Iowa this Wednesday.  It is his first trip to the Hawkeye State at least since he’s be pondering a presidential campaign.  He will be one of the last to jump in the already crowded Republican field.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has yet to jump into the race, but unlike Kasich he has been visiting all of the early primary states, has staffed up in all of those states, has enjoyed (with a few exceptions) national media attention, and has been polling well.

Kasich hoping for a Jeb Bush collapse looks to get in late.  The problem is for Kasich is that while he is a governor of a swing state, he is a Governor with lower voter name ID in state whose primary is not until March 15th.  Mr. Momentum should be residing with somebody’s campaign by that point.  He’s polling 13th with Real Clear Politics’ average of national polls with 1.7%.  He is 13th in Iowa, 14th in New Hampshire (where he’s actually been spending some time), and not even on the radar with South Carolina polling.

Donors, understandably, are not jumping on the Kasich band wagon in droves.

Politico reports that Kasich has expressed some frustration as a result while on the fundraising circuit.

Sensing the window of opportunity is closing, John Kasich is on a last-minute dash across the country to convince party donors and power-brokers that there’s room for one more candidate in the most crowded Republican presidential field in decades.

The Ohio governor, who’s expected to formally announce his White House bid next month, is jetting to America’s political money capitals — from Dallas to New York City to Palm Beach — with the goal of securing the financial support he’ll need to wage a 2016 campaign.

He’s huddled with Ann Romney at a lavish Utah ski resort and pushed to win the backing of a powerful longtime friend, media mogul Rupert Murdoch. He’s also tried to convince Ohio’s deepest-pocketed donors to keep their powder dry and not commit until he gets into the race.

The case for his candidacy is grounded in his record as a popular swing state governor. But part of his sell to donors is that Jeb Bush has run an ineffective campaign, creating an opening for a candidate who happens to fit Kasich’s own profile.

If he’s having a problem getting donors in his own state to wait then he is in serious trouble before his campaign even starts.  It is amazing to me that he believes he can jump in this late and actually be able to compete.  In years’ past July wouldn’t be that late, but that is with a much, much smaller field so you didn’t have the competition for staff and donors.

Apparently, according to Politico anyway, he’s starting to lose his cool.

During one meeting, which took place about two weeks ago, the governor grew angry when a major Republican Party contributor pointed out that others had already formally launched their campaigns and built expansive teams of political advisers. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kasich snapped at the donor, who wished to remain anonymous because the meeting was private. It was still early, Kasich insisted, and Bush, who had endured a rocky rollout, was “losing steam.”

Kasich’s temper has made it harder to endear himself to the GOP’s wealthy benefactors. Last year, he traveled to Southern California to appear on a panel at a conference sponsored by the Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch. At one point, according to accounts provided by two sources present, Randy Kendrick, a major contributor and the wife of Ken Kendrick, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, rose to say she disagreed with Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage, and questioned why he’d expressed the view it was what God wanted.

The governor’s response was fiery. “I don’t know about you, lady,” he said as he pointed at Kendrick, his voice rising. “But when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.”

The exchange left many stunned. About 20 audience members walked out of the room, and two governors also on the panel, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, told Kasich they disagreed with him. The Ohio governor has not been invited back to a Koch seminar — opportunities for presidential aspirants to mingle with the party’s rich and powerful — in the months since.

So being “Johnny come lately” is one thing (pun intended) expressing anger is quite another.  I don’t want to put much stock in just one article that this is a problem, but something I have noticed in the debate over Common Core is that he is incredibly blunt to the point of being rude.  So I’d have to say this account doesn’t surprise me at all.

If Kasich wants to compete, he is going to have to learn to answer tough questions about decisions he has made and do so keeping his composure.  If he doesn’t he’s toast.  That’s not the kind of temperament we need in a commander-in-chief.

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