Kasich Campaign Press Release - Wall Street Journal Says John Kasich's Positive Approach Is Paying Off
Note: "Mr. Kasich is second to front-runner Donald Trump in each of five public polls of New Hampshire voters in the past month. An American Research Group survey released Tuesday showed him at 20%, up six percentage points from earlier in the month."
By Reid J. Epstein
LEBANON, N. H.—While the rest of the Republican presidential field is betting on an electorate furious with President Barack Obama and angry with career politicians, John Kasich is making the opposite wager.
The Ohio governor is stumping across New Hampshire highlighting his experience in Congress, backing such issues as the Iran nuclear deal and campaign-finance reform that are usually supported by Democrats and painting himself as an uplifting alternative to the doom-and-gloom tone dominating the GOP primary.
There is some evidence this approach is working. Mr. Kasich is second to front-runner Donald Trump in each of five public polls of New Hampshire voters in the past month. An American Research Group survey released Tuesday showed him at 20%, up six percentage points from earlier in the month. Mr. Trump leads at 27%, the poll found.
"I'm not sugarcoating anything, but I'm not walking in there as the prince of darkness," Mr. Kasich said during an interview on his campaign bus. "I'd rather be the prince of light, the prince of hope."
This weekend he received endorsements from newspapers in Nashua, Portsmouth and Dover. His town-hall events Monday and Tuesday drew standing-room-only crowds. And the super PAC backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently targeted him, stuffing mailboxes with a flier detailing Mr. Kasich's violations of Republican orthodoxy, which include accepting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion for Ohio and voting in Congress for a 1994 ban of certain semiautomatic firearms.
A strong showing by Mr. Kasich in the first GOP primary eight days after the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses would increase the odds he would still be around as a favorite-son candidate March 15 in Ohio, a winner-take-all state unlike those before it where delegates are awarded proportionally.
Still, Mr. Kasich's campaign is essentially a one-state operation for now. He has written off Iowa and his campaign has a minimal footprint in South Carolina and Nevada, which vote in the weeks following New Hampshire. He has less money than his competitors, whose ads appear far more often on New Hampshire's lone broadcast TV network.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of GOP primary voters nationwide showed Mr. Kasich with just 3% support and he remains unknown by 18%—the largest percentage in the GOP presidential field.
And his unorthodox stands don't sit well with plenty of voters. Bill Gamache, a retired salesman, pressed Mr. Kasich on his relatively lenient immigration position at a Concord town hall Tuesday.
"We have millions of people here illegally. What is your plan to deport them?" Mr. Gamache asked. Mr. Kasich dug in. "I wouldn't, OK? It's not practical and we're not going to do that."
The Kasich message is aimed at independent voters who make up 44% of the New Hampshire electorate rather than bedrock Republicans being pursued by candidates such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Kasich New Hampshire strategist Tom Rath said he needs at least one-third of his primary votes to come from independents to meet his turnout targets. To that end, his goal is to present himself as an alternative to conservative candidates while remaining outside of the squabbling between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Chris Christie and Mr. Bush.
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John Kasich, Kasich Campaign Press Release - Wall Street Journal Says John Kasich's Positive Approach Is Paying Off Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/313178