“He’s my friend”
With recent polls showing Donald Trump and John Kasich tied in Ohio and reports that Marco Rubio is telling his OH supporters to vote for Kasich, Ohio has become quite the battleground in the 2016 Republican primaries.
Entering the fray from his recent retirement is former House Speaker and long-time congressman from Ohio, John Boehner. Boehner announced his endorsement of Kasich days before Ohio primary voters head to the polls.
Republicans in Butler County honored former Speaker John Boehner three days before residents across Ohio’s 8th District will vote on his replacement in Congress.
But on Saturday, Boehner was more interested in talking about the presidential race.
One day before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to speak in West Chester, Boehner endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president.
In fact, the former speaker told a crowded ballroom in the same township he already voted for Kasich.
“He’s my friend,” said Boehner.
It’s not clear how much influence Boehner has in Ohio or whether his endorsement will make any difference for Kasich.
At the same event, Boehner reflected on his role as Speaker.
“I have no regrets about how I retired or when I retired,” Boehner said. “Every day I’m grateful I’m not there.”
Saturday was a good day for Boehner.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and other elected officials each took turns praising Boehner and his time in office.
West Chester Township Trustee George Lang, a friend of Boehner’s, told the crowd he was the “best speaker ever.”
. . . . “I’m still the same Jack today that I was when I walked in (to Congress) 25 years ago,” Boehner told the crowd. “Some guys might say I’m too much like me. But I was always going to be just me.”
Perhaps the best example of this came when he was introduced by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy. She told the crowd Boehner’s only shortcoming was he didn’t take enough credit for what he did for the American people.
Clearly, Boehner still has support in Ohio, so perhaps his endorsement will matter in some quarters. As it stands, though, Kasich is doing better in his home state than Rubio is doing in his.
In Ohio, Kasich does well among voters who feel the economy is in good shape, but Trump is leading among those who feel the state’s economy is bad. And key for Kasich is that his approval rating as governor is extremely high — 80 percent among Republican primary voters — and he is seen by voters as prepared to be president, more so than Trump. That lets Kasich keep his home-state edge, unlike Rubio in Florida, where GOP primary voters are split on his performance as a U.S. Senator. In Florida, Rubio also is hampered by comparably low numbers of voters who see him as prepared to be President.
Ohio (and Florida) voters head to the polls on Tuesday, so we know soon enough if Kasich manages to beat Trump in winner-take-all Ohio.