Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the last Republican to drop out of the 2016 primary against Donald Trump, and three years later his team is considering giving it another go in 2020, Politico reports. The question partially comes down to whether or not to challenge Trump in the primary, or run a campaign as an independent, with hopes high that the issue will be resolved by the president simply choosing not to run again due to a lack of interest or legal issues.
Kasich has "actually been pretty straightforward about it," said Kasich 2016 campaign adviser Charlie Black. "He would like to run again if he sees an opening. And if Trump runs again, there's no opening. But if Trump doesn't run, there is one."
While a Kasich 2020 bid is a long shot no matter how he decides to run, the governor "feels a responsibility to fill the role of the conservative conscience," Politico writes. Refusing to close any door yet, he is returning to New Hampshire in April, and will appear in Washington over the weekend for the National Governors Association meeting. "Anybody on the Republican side who's even imagining themselves possibly being in some kind of a race in 2020 has to start taking action sometime really soon," explained New Hampshire Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn.
Still, it's an uphill battle. "John Kasich sounds too reasonable to run in a Trump-era GOP primary," The Washington Post recently wrote.
In the 2016 primary, Kasich walked away with a single state — Ohio — and finished in second behind Trump in New Hampshire. He scored just 2 percent in Iowa, where Trump took nearly a quarter of the vote. Jeva Lange