Government

Ryan: Kasich’s Policies Face Challenges in GOP Field

WARREN, Ohio – John R. Kasich’s expected entry into the 2016 Republican presidential campaign will force the governor to defend his decisions and policies in a way he hasn’t had to since his election in 2010, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said Monday.

Because Kasich’s Democratic challenger last fall, Ed FitzGerald, “imploded very early” — the result of personal scandals, Kasich “is going to have the first real pressure applied to his policies that he’s had since he got elected,” Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said. He is supporting the candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Kasich, a former congressman, is expected to announce his candidacy July 21. Today he is completing a two-day swing in New Hampshire where his new television ad is drawing positive responses, reports his “527” committee, New Day for America.

Last week, the committee reported that it has collected more than $11.5 million in contributions since it began raising funds May 1. That exceeded the initial fundraising goal by more than $1 million, said New Day’s executive director, Matt Carle.

“Supporters are looking for a record of accomplishment and someone who looks out for all Americans. That’s what they are seeing when they look at Governor Kasich and why we’ve already received millions in additional commitments already pledged,” Carle said.

But once Kasich formally enters the race, Ryan expects the other candidates in the growing GOP field – which as of yesterday includes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – to ask Kasich about his decisions and their consequences. The Ohio governor “will have to defend … why does he have a $1.7 billion rainy day fund and we can’t fill our potholes in our streets in Ohio? Or we have to go into deep debt in order to graduate from an Ohio state school,” Ryan remarked.

Kasich and the newest entry to the GOP race, Walker, share some similarities, one being that as governors early in their tenures they clashed with organized labor.

Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid may provide Walker with an opening among conservative Republicans, Ryan said. “Governor Kasich’s going to have to get on the stage and defend why he agreed with Obamacare,” he observed.

After largely having the Democratic field to herself, Hillary Clinton faces competition for her party’s nod, notably from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Despite the response Sanders is receiving, Ryan says he recalls how activists similarly responded to his “insurgent kind of firebrand candidate” when Howard Dean ran in 2004 but voters settled on a “more statesmanlike person,” John Kerry.

“Bernie is a very articulate spokesperson but at the end of the day the majority of Democrats are going to stick with the opportunity to get Hillary Clinton into the White House,” Ryan declared.

Sanders is raising issues that Clinton is talking about, he added. “He does it in a different way and he has a different style, but she’s very much talking about the same issues,” Ryan said, “and I think they’re issues that people care very much about. And that’s how do we grow wages? And how do we make sure everybody has opportunity and access to that opportunity to help their family?” he said. “People don’t want a handout. People just want to make a living.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.