Ohio Governor’s Reelection May Not Be a Given, and GOP Governors Should Take Notice

For Republican Governor John Kasich, reelection was supposed to be a breeze. The state of Ohio has a massive Republican majority in the state legislature, a fact that should have shored him up by helping him pass his major public policy platform with little effort. Instead, heading into the 2014 campaign, Kasich is bizarrely struggling against a mostly unknown Democratic candidate, and some wonder if that’s a sign that he’s more in danger than anyone realized. In reality, the question isn’t how did Kasich end up in jeopardy, but how many GOP governors could find themselves in a similar situation.

The reelection campaign of John Kasich is the sort that will be playing out in reddish-purple states all over the country such as North Carolina and Wisconsin, too. Although so many conservative leaning states saw massive GOP gains in the 2010 election, and even in the 2012 House races and local legislative races, 2012 presidential and Senate results showed a different bent all together. The most noticeable trend from the 2012 campaigns was that while congressional races still trended Republican, in many cases due to gerrymandered redistricting and hyper partisan congressional boundaries created after the 2010 midterms, when a candidate had to appeal across a full state, either as president or for a federal Senate seat, the Democratic candidate was more often likely to be the winner.

There are a few caveats there, of course. In many of those races, most notably the presidential election, or key Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana, the Democrat was an incumbent, giving that politician an inevitable advantage. Still, for Indiana and Missouri both, each Democratic senator was thought to be extremely vulnerable and in definite danger of a loss.

Still, a case could be made from the results when it came to a core base to campaign and win over, extremist Republican candidates did well. When a broad, statewide audience needed to be appealed to, they faltered.

That’s where Governor Kasich may be stuck right now.

On the one side of the equation, Governor Kasich rubber stamped almost the entirety of the conservative GOP’s legislative agenda. Even in places where he could have veered away from them, such as not defunding the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates, or giving program money meant to help low income families have enough food to eat to deceitful crisis pregnancy centers, approving legislation meant to shut down abortion providers or a mandatory forced ultrasound, the governor chose to sign the bills into law rather than single out and veto the ones he didn’t support.

Those sorts of legislative moves may have kept his Republican backers happy, but will they appeal across the state?

Gov. Kasich has already tried to move back to the side of the moderates, even bucking his own party to push through Medicaid expansion as a part of the Affordable Care Act. To continue to oppose the expansion would have been political suicide for a state like Ohio, which suffers from massive unemployment and because of that, has many uninsured citizens as well.

Voters, however, seem less than inclined to believe his makeover. The governor’s hypothetical matchup with likely Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald has gotten closer since November, with the Kasich now leading by just 5 points, despite the fact that the vast majority of voters say they don’t know anything about his rival. For a sitting governor to only be projected to have about 43 percent of the state’s voters’ support is a definite cause for alarm, especially since he was 14 points ahead only last June.

Kasich’s dwindling support as he tries to navigate between keeping the extremists in his own party happy and appealing to a full state that doesn’t care for the far right ideologies that are overtaking the state is one that will happen in other states as well. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and North Carolina’s Pat McCrory will both have to try to balance that tight rope, wondering how much their rightwing ideologies will harm them in their reelection campaigns now that many moderates believe they have pushed too far.

It could make for a very, very interesting 2014 election day

Photo credit: Wikimedia commons


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Sean Goldberg
Tonya lee3 years ago

Let's pray he looses

Ron B.
Ron B3 years ago

Poor Kasich. What's a Republican who supposedly isn't totally bat-sh*t crazy to do? Be 100% evil or only partly evil? Decisions, decisions. Anyone who is not also evil and/or ignorant should not be voting for politicians who align themselves with today's GOP. None of them can be trusted. Unless you're among the rich elite, voting Republican means ultimately voting against your own best interests.

Ron G.
Ron G3 years ago

Oh Suzana, who you been talking to? Please research him more then listening to what people say. First, being Pro-Life is also a choice, your choice, and that is as it should be, but Kasich and others like him want more then that. They want to restrict your choice, women's choice, women's right to make their own decision. Nobody wants abortion for the sake of killing as it's made out to be. They want the choice for it to be the woman who carries, or for the decision needed to save life. Women deserve the right to end a pregnancy because men are not responsible enough to take responsibility. There is so much more than being Pro-Life or Pro-Choice and leaving it up to the Kasich's of this country is wrong. Kasich is so wrong on many human right violations, voting, environment, and you must look beyond what you hear. Democrat or Republican, you deserve what everyone else deserves, and certainly what a man gets like paid more for the same job. Don't plant your feet in the concrete of decision before you are really ready to stand firm for what HE believes. and only because you believe it it first.

Gayle J.
Gayle, J3 years ago

Gee, it shouldn't be so surprising that a republiCON governor whose policies are horrible for most of the people in their state may not win re-election. People need to wake up and finally figure out that the CONS will say what they think the people want to hear to get elected, and then turn around and stab the 99% in the back time and time again. You're only voting against your own best interests when you vote for the CONs. They don't care about the people or the environment, they only care about their polluting, corporate benefactors.

A F.
Athena F3 years ago

thank you

Suzana Megles
Suzana Megles3 years ago

I have to admit that I didn't read this post well, but for now this Buckeye is voting for Kasich and I am a Democrat. I have heard only good things about him and if he is pro-life -so am I!

Steve Vincenti
Steve Vincenti3 years ago

Voter suppression, anti gay, war on women, anti environment and the list goes on. You can send every one of these teapublican gov's packing!!!

Martin Hill
Martin Hill3 years ago

To Terri M. What an oxymoron! A Republican with backbone, morals, ethics & empathy??? No such creature exists. They died out long ago. You might find some fossilized remains somewhere.

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold3 years ago

On any given day, any thing can happen. On any given day, a candidate can win. There is no way that anyone up for reelection should take it for granted he/she will be reelected. As I said, on any given day, any candidate can win.