Friday, September 25, 2015

Special election will select replacement for John Boehner's congressional seat

Reported and written with Jackie Borchardt

A special election will be held for House Speaker John Boehner's congressional seat, and the field is wide open for who might next represent Ohio's 8th District.

Boehner's resignation Friday means voters will have to elect someone to finish his term through December 2016. His resignation takes effect Oct. 30 -- too late to add his seat to the Nov. 3 General Election.

There will be a primary and general election for the seat, and one election could align with an already scheduled election, such as the March 2016 primary.

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Marco Rubio backer Bernie Moreno hedges his bets, donates to John Kasich's presidential campaign

Turns out that Bernie Moreno has room in his heart -- and in his checkbook -- for both Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The Cleveland-area businessman made news last month by hosting a fundraiser for Rubio's presidential campaign, despite being a Kasich appointee to the Cleveland State University board of trustees and a police-community relations panel.

Moreno, president of the Bernie Moreno Companies chain of luxury car dealerships, said then that he saw Rubio as a "JFK for the next generation." Thursday evening, he was among the guests at a fundraiser for Kasich's White House bid in Pepper Pike. Moreno said Friday that he and his wife both contributed to Kasich.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Scott Walker's exit from the presidential race could open doors for John Kasich in the Midwest

As recently as a month ago, the thought that fall would come with Scott Walker on the sidelines was absurd. Even a week ago, before the second Republican presidential debate, the notion would have seemed preposterous.

But the Wisconsin governor ended his White House bid Monday evening, becoming the latest casualty in this bizarre summer of Donald Trump.

Once the frontrunner in Iowa and an undisputed top-tier candidate across the map, Walker's quick and complete unraveling will go down as one of the most remarkable stories in this unpredictable battle for the GOP nomination.

Now, for the first time in the race, there's at least one clear lane for Ohio's John Kasich. With Walker's exit -- and with decisions by Indiana's Mike Pence and Michigan's Rick Snyder not to run -- Kasich is the last Midwest governor standing.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Beer koozies, dancing and pragmatic Republicans: John Kasich finds a comfort zone on Mackinac Island

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. – John Kasich finished a long week of campaigning here Saturday, finally in something resembling a political comfort zone.

The Republicans in Michigan are Kasich's kind of Republicans.

"We're all the same people," the Ohio governor and presidential hopeful told a few dozen of them during the first of three events Saturday at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. "People keep saying, 'Well, how come Republicans can't win Michigan?' Maybe sometimes it's because Republicans don't understand Michigan."

These Republicans, who gathered for a weekend loaded with networking at the picturesque Grand Hotel, applaud politely for hardline conservatives like Ted Cruz. Many of them roll their eyes when you bring up Donald Trump. But Michigan is mild as far as conservatism goes. A guy like Kasich can feel at ease here.

How at ease? Kasich did something he never does on the trail.

He danced.

Actually, he danced twice.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

John Kasich remains above the fray but under the radar in second Republican presidential debate

The opening moments of Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate sounded a bit like a shouting match at recess.

Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and this summer's undisputed leader in opinion polls and insults, took a gratuitous shot at Rand Paul's declining fortunes.

The Kentucky senator fired back at Trump for critiquing former tech executive Carly Fiorina's looks. So Trump responded with a crack about Paul's looks. Then Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker jumped in, belittling Trump and his old reality TV show.

"We don't need an 'Apprentice' in the White House," Walker jabbed.

On and on it went for several minutes. When the moderator Jake Tapper of CNN tried to move on, Ohio Gov. John Kasich interjected and made his move.

"If I were sitting at home and watching this," Kasich said, "I'd be inclined to turn it off."

Kasich's goal going into the prime-time debate was to prove he was the grown-up in the room. With that line – one of the very few Kasich got on a stage with 10 other White House hopefuls – he went a long way toward achieving what he set out to do.

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Why Donald Trump is not No. 1 in my GOP power rankings

Every month I compile what list-lovers know as "power rankings" – a stab in the dark at who will be the last presidential candidate standing at next summer's Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

And every month my boss, Chris Quinn, wonders what on earth I am thinking.

There's a saying in politics: If you're explaining, you're losing. I disagree. Debate is essential to our discourse. If I must explain myself to Chris, I might as well explain myself to you, too. So this month, we put our robust discussion on camera.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Will John Kasich's early success make him a target at Wednesday night's Republican debate?

John Kasich is bracing for an attack.

The Ohio governor and Republican presidential hopeful will take the stage Wednesday night in California for his second prime-time debate in as many months.

He barely snuck into the first, where his performance gave his then-fledgling campaign a needed boost. Now a top tier candidate in make-or-break New Hampshire, Kasich no longer has the luxury of sneaking up on anyone, especially not the three early frontrunners his advisers once saw as his chief competitors for the nomination.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Hillary Clinton's summer of drama creates openings for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden: Democratic presidential power rankings

When Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign last spring, her advisers talked a lot about how, this time, things would be different.

The guiding principle: No drama.

You know what they say about the best laid plans.

Read the full analysis

See the slideshow

Could there be a brokered convention in Cleveland? Republican presidential power rankings

The longer Donald Trump hangs around, and the longer once-formidable frontrunners such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker flounder, you can't help but wonder: Could Republicans be headed for a brokered convention in Cleveland?

Sure, more than a few pundits float this prospect every four years. And some candidates even convince themselves of the plausibility as a rationale to keep going.

But consider where we are, 10 months before the party must settle on a nominee.

Read September's analysis

See the slideshow

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meet Beth Hansen, the under-the-radar operative steering John Kasich's presidential campaign

COLUMBUS, Ohio – If his choice for campaign manager is supposed to tell us something about John Kasich, let's first consider how the Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate explained why he chose Beth Hansen.

"Forget everything else. I love the fact that she's a woman," Kasich told reporters in July, after announcing that Hansen, a GOP operative for decades and Kasich's original chief of staff in the governor's office, would run the White House bid.

"What a fantastic thing that is. I like to have women in high places in organizations."

It's a useful line in a political environment where Kasich and his fellow Republicans will face "war on women" charges because of their anti-abortion policies and because of complaints that they pay men more. It also set up a nice comeback a few weeks later when Donald Trump, Kasich's front-running rival for the nomination, offended many women with his puzzling attack on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

But it only scratches the surface of who Hansen is and how she fits with Kasich, who faced pressure to hire someone with a bigger name. Those who know Hansen best say her rise to the high command of a national campaign is a testament to her instincts and her loyalty -- and particularly to the value Kasich places on the latter.

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