Ohio Governor John Kasich is still officially unofficially running for President, at least until next month when he plans on making it officially official. But in the intervening time, it seems that he’s running into some headwinds when it comes to donors who have long since committed their resources to one of the candidates who got into the starting blocks early. (In the case of Kasich, he’s looking mostly to tap Jeb Bush’s donor pool.) And with the lack of results has come what appears to be a sense of desperation. (Politico)
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.
A big push for funds is nothing disqualifying… it’s just part of the business of running for the presidency. But one other report seems a bit more disturbing. Apparently the Governor’s temper has been showing a bit.
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.”
That episode put a number of GOP participants off their feed, including fellow Governor Nikki Haley. (Bobby Jindal was also reported to be miffed over it, but since he was planning on running himself I’m willing to discount that one a bit.) But it’s not a stretch to see how donors might be worried. If you can’t hold your temper in front of a group of potentially supportive donors and lose your balance, how will you react in front of aggressive, liberal journalists? How will you fare on the debate stage when people are attacking you non-stop for two hours and questioning everything you’ve ever done or said? It’s not all that shocking if some of those deep pocket folks weren’t willing to throw their fortunes into the mix on his behalf.
So did Kasich just wait too long? I thought that one was a no brainer, but clearly some in the professional political class disagree. It may seem like a terrible thing that the elections begin so early now, but the first debates are coming up in less than two months. The race has long since begun and the pressure has been on the donors to pick a side and get their guy (or gal) off to a good, early push. Assuming that just because you are the governor of an important swing state you have the luxury of announcing a few weeks before the first debate seems short sighted at best.