Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) says he’s seriously considering a presidential run against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, but admitted Thursday that he probably could not win a Republican primary today.
“If you’re going to run as a Republican you have to have a sense that if you get into primaries you can win. Right now, probably couldn’t win,” he told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview. “But that’s today. It’s ever changing.”
He says he is still weighing his options for 2020 and is having his advisors monitor the headlines surrounding the White House, including Trump’s legal entanglements and talks of impeachment.
“It’s not like I wouldn’t do it,” he told the AP. “You can’t be afraid to do it.”
Kasich, who is leaving office in January due to term limits, has already run for president twice. He handily defeated a thinned-out primary field in the 2016 Ohio primary, but failed to win any other primary or caucus. Should he run again, the crucial swing state would once again be in play.
Primary challenges against sitting presidents have happened before, but are rare. The last instance was a failed insurgent campaign by Pat Buchanan against President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 presidential race.
Kasich has been a vocal critic of Trump both on issues of character and policy, calling his record “dismal.”
“Tariffs are a bad idea. Debt is a bad idea. Family separation is a bad idea. Demonizing immigrants is a bad idea. And breaking down our alliances is bad too,” he told the AP.
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Kasich said he does not worry that his criticism of the president would hurt his relationship with the Republican National Committee or party establishment, saying he goes “right to the folks.”