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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