2016 Presidential Candidate Profile: John Kasich

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Follow this link to read about my 2016 Presidential Candidate Profiles.

Candidate Profile: John Kasich

Current Office: Governor of Ohio

Age: 63 (born May 13, 1952)

Party: Republican

Real Clear Politics Poll Average (as of December 13, 2015): National 2.2% (8th); Iowa 2.0% (10th); New Hampshire 7.3% (5th)1

Campaign Website: johnkasich.com

John Kasich is currently serving his second term as Governor of Ohio. Kasich served for 9 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 2001, and was Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 1995 to 2001. Kasich sought the Republican nomination for President in 2000, but withdrew from the race well before the first votes were cast.


Governor John Kasich has supported offering legal status to certain aliens who are here illegally after they pay a fine. He has stated that he is open to a pathway to citizenship although he does not like it. Governor Kasich supports this approach in conjunction with augmenting border security. He also supports expanding guest worker programs after sealing the border. He stated in the September debate that the focus of immigration reform should be to keep families together.


Governor John Kasich has emphasized Israel less in his campaign than many of his opponents. On his campaign website, he supports strengthening ties with Israel to help it defend itself and oppose Iranian-backed terrorism. He considers working with Israel and our other allies in the Middle East as part of the solution to problems in the Middle East. Governor Kasich opposed the Iran deal on legal and policy grounds, but stated in a debate that he opposes withdrawing from it unless Iran violates it or uses the money from the agreement to support terrorism. He supports increasing U.S. involvement in Syria and establishing a no-fly zone.

Issue of Interest — Medicaid Expansion:

Despite opposing Obamacare, Governor John Kasich was one of the few Republican Governors to agree to Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in his state. When questioned about the criticism this has garnered from Republicans and the potential long-term costs to Ohio, Governor Kasich couched his support for the policy in moral and religious terms in a Republican debate. His rhetoric in defense of the Medicaid expansion is part of why many conservatives have been critical of Governor Kasich's manner in the debates thus far, accusing him of attempting to appeal to liberals and moderates at the expense of the great number of conservatives who make up the Republican electorate.


Despite his experience and a generally conservative record in his one term and change as Governor of Ohio, I cannot recommend supporting Governor Kasich in the primary. Rather than consistently campaigning on conservative ideas, he has consistently made an effort to appeal to media outlets that only like “conservatives” who attack conservatism. We saw a similar and unsuccessful campaign waged by Jon Huntsman in 2012. On immigration reform, Governor Kasich seems similar to candidates such as Jeb Bush [see blog] and Lindsey Graham [see blog], but has focused on it less. While Kasich seems to generally support Israel like the rest of the field, I am not encouraged by his lack of emphasis on Israel and his weak position on the Iran deal that I discussed in the Israel section.

While Governor Kasich would be vastly preferable to any of the Democrats, he is a weak candidate relative to the better options we have to choose from in this field.


  1. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html (retrieved on December 13, 2015)

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2016 Presidential Candidate Profile:  John Kasich