- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Sunday that although he is running in the Republican presidential primaries, his support from Democrats shows his “ability to reassemble that old Reagan coalition.”

Mr. Kasich joked over the weekend that he “ought to be running in a Democratic primary, I’ve got more Democrats for me.” He clarified his comment Sunday, saying that while it was a joke, it is a sign of his bipartisan appeal.

Mr. Kasich said that despite his record of cutting taxes, promoting school choice, welfare reform, ending entitlements and reducing the size of government, his willingness to be bipartisan has made hard-core right-wingers believe he is not conservative enough.

“I don’t understand it, other than sometimes I say we need to work together with the Democrats, because I believe that everybody ought to have an opportunity to rise,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “You know, the mentally ill, the drug addicted. I don’t know. Maybe that, they don’t like that tone.”

But he said his appeal across the aisle should make him more appealing.

“The only reason I said what I said is I have had so many Democrats walk up to me and say, ‘Hey, we like you, we hope you’re going to be the Republican,’” Mr. Kasich said. “We’re not going to vote for you in the fall, but, you know, we think you make a lot of sense.”

“You know, look, I’m in a Republican primary, but whoever is going to like me, I consider that to be a good thing,” he said. “But it shows my ability, perhaps, to reassemble that old Reagan coalition, those blue collar Democrats. That’s what my father was.”

He said he is open to courting Democrats, arguing that if they are on the more conservative side, they should consider looking at Republican candidates.

Mr. Kasich also said his campaign has momentum in New Hampshire and that he feels he will do well.

“Look, we’re going to do very well,” he said, “because I mean you should see the army of volunteers we have. It’s just unbelievable.”

He said his support among millennials will help him.

“I heard, after the debate, that they took a poll and, you know, like I’d risen really dramatically among millennials, which is really cool,” he said. “I always get along with young people.”

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