- - Friday, September 11, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Dubbed by many as the “dark horse” of the 2016 GOP field, Gov. John Kasich continues to make strides forward in a race where with 16 candidates anything is possible.

As a former Ohio state senator, a former U.S. Representative and the current governor of the state of Ohio, Mr. Kasich is far from short of leadership experience.

In fact, he has spent close to half his life in elected office and has a proven record of overall success.

Beginning his political career with a win against a Democratic incumbent at the young age of 26, Mr. Kasich immediately voted to refuse a personal pay raise, which helped lead him to spend nearly two decades as a U.S. Representative.

During his tenure in Congress, Mr. Kasich spent six years as the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he played an integral role in the historic balancing of the budgets in the 1990s.

And as governor of Ohio, Mr. Kasich has worked to balance the budget, create jobs, and bring the unemployment rate down from over 9 percent in 2011 to just 5 percent in 2015, despite taking office with a nearly $8 billion deficit and a loss of over 350,000 jobs during former Gov. Ted Strickland’s time in office.

“You want job creation, you balance the books,” Mr. Kasich said during his July presidential campaign announcement.

His record of success in Ohio supports this statement and his overall campaign message seems to be bringing him in supporters from all over the country.

Following a strong performance in August’s first GOP presidential debate hosted by Fox, Mr. Kasich has risen to second in the polls in New Hampshire, an important state in the primary elections.

He has also received critical endorsements from notable elected officials and well-known Republicans, including Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and New Hampshire GOP icon Ruth Griffin.

As a supporter of gay marriage, Mr. Kasich tends to be considered one of the more socially moderate GOP candidates, which is something many believe will appeal to younger voters as it gets closer to the primary elections.

Mr. Kasich is scheduled to appear as a top-tier candidate on Wednesday for the second GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN, where he is expected to have another strong performance alongside other heavy-hitters from the first debates including Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina.

Madison Gesiotto is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

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