- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Sunday he’s getting “more and more serious” about jumping into the 2016 presidential race, a contest in which he said he would be the most experienced candidate.

Kasich just made visits to the key Republican primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, and said he has “a pretty heavy schedule” ahead.

“I have more experience than anybody in the field,” said Kasich, a former veteran congressman in his second term as governor. “That’s really what I have that stands out. I don’t just talk about what I want to do; I can tell people what I’ve done.”

But he stopped short of announcing his plans on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which greeted him with a clip of his 1999 announcement on the show that he would explore a 2000 presidential bid that he later dropped. Kasich said Sunday all his options are still on the table. He said his family would be a consideration in making his decision as well as determining “what the Lord wants” him to do.

Kasich said as House budget committee chairman, he helped balance the budget, and as governor has brought Oho out of “a total mess.” He also called Ohio “a microcosm of America.”

Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper said Kasich’s “Ohio story” doesn’t ring true back home. He said in a statement Friday that Ohio continues to lag in economic recovery, and that Kasich’s policies have helped the wealthiest, not working people.

“It hasn’t worked in Ohio, and it won’t work for the country,” Pepper said.

Although some 20 Republicans are flirting with 2016 runs, so far, only Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky have announced their candidacies.

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Contact the reporter at https://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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