Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The next Republican National Committee chairman? Here's the book on Matt Borges.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – This would be a comeback story even without the cliffhanger.

A dozen years ago, Matt Borges was, in his own words, radioactive. Political scandal had sidetracked his promising future as Ohio's next top Republican operative.

For a while he toiled in jobs beneath him. Turned down promotions. Worried that a higher profile might trigger stories about his past and embarrass his employers.

Slowly, Borges clawed his way back. Guided a little-known county prosecutor to statewide office.
Found a home in the governor's inner circle. But still couldn't shake the comma and the clause that always followed his name. He was Matt Borges, who was convicted in a pay-to-play case stemming from his work as the top adviser to a former state treasurer.

The 2016 election is helping Borges, now the Ohio GOP chairman, bury his baggage.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

As John Kasich reflects on presidential bid, he worries about Donald Trump and a nation of victims

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It's been three weeks since Gov. John Kasich ended his presidential bid as the last man standing against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

But hearing him talk Tuesday, there was a sense of unfinished business.

Kasich seemed more eager than ever to draw contrasts with Trump, whom he acknowledged he may never endorse. He repeatedly described the New York businessman as a candidate who encourages voters to see themselves as victims but offers no tangible solutions.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Next up for John Kasich: Deciding how to deal with Donald Trump

The next decision of Gov. John Kasich's political career might be his biggest yet – bigger than anything involved in his recently suspended presidential campaign.

How will he deal with Donald Trump?

It's a choice filled with risks for Kasich, who framed his White House bid around a decidedly non-Trumpian theme: "I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land."

Kasich is taking his time. Since exiting the Republican race a week ago – a move that left the unpredictable Trump as the presumptive nominee – he has kept out of the public eye. He knows that whenever he resurfaces, the first question is bound to be about Trump.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

A Q&A with John Weaver, chief strategist behind the John Kasich presidential campaign

In his now-defunct presidential bid, Gov. John Kasich relied mostly on longtime trusted allies and aides who have served by his side in Ohio.

John Weaver, who came aboard as chief strategist in the weeks before the July 2015 launch, was a rare outsider. The Texan, who has worked for John McCain and Jon Huntsman, also was the only one on the team who had experience running a White House campaign.

Less than 48 hours after Kasich dropped out of the Republican race, Weaver reflected on the effort in a telephone interview with cleveland.com. He talked about the controversial deal he cut with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's team, about his concerns about presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, and about what he sees in Kasich's future. (Hint: It's not vice president.)

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

John Kasich set out to build a new Republican Party; Donald Trump beat him to it

Many months ago in New Hampshire, back when the best days of his presidential campaign were still ahead of him, John Kasich cracked one of his famous dad jokes.

"Why didn't the skeleton go to the party?" he asked. "Because he had no body to go with."

As we exhume the Ohio governor's White House bid, this is as good a place as any to begin. It perfectly encapsulates the goofy, fatherly personality Kasich brought to the Republican field. And it delivers the punchline he held on so long and hard to avoid becoming.

Kasich went to the party. Few joined him. Then he never wanted to leave.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Postcards from the Indiana primary

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- Republicans here aren't used to all of this attention.

Few can remember the last time their presidential primary carried such high stakes. But this year, Hoosiers might have the decisive role in picking the GOP standard-bearer.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Is this the last stand for Ted Cruz?

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – This sure feels like the last stand for Ted Cruz.

The polls – all but one of them, anyway – say so.

Most political analysts, knowing Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump needs fewer than 250 delegates to clinch the nomination before the July convention, believe so.

And Cruz probably knows so. But in an unpredictable race where goalposts shift constantly, the Texas senator is being careful not to overtly acknowledge the now-or-never moment that is the Indiana primary. As he made an Election Eve sprint across the Hoosier State, Cruz repeatedly walked a fine line between confidence and consternation.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Donald Trump on the home stretch in Indiana: 'Pretend we're losing because we have to win big'

FORT WAYNE, Indiana – Donald Trump did something unusual Sunday.

The Republican presidential frontrunner, a master of hype and salesmanship, urged his audience here to ignore new numbers that show him headed for victory in the Indiana primary.

"We got great polls today," Trump said at a rally in front of thousands packed inside the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. "Don't listen to them. Forget it. Pretend we're losing – we're not; we're winning big. But pretend we're losing, because we have to win big.

"The more we win by, the better it is."

The New York businessman knows Tuesday's vote could be the knockout punch for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, his last remaining rivals. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released earlier Sunday found Trump leading Cruz, 49 percent to 34 percent.

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