During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich surprised no one when he expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the GOP and gave indications that he may leave the Party altogether.
In response to Tapper’s review of GOP senate candidate Roy Moore’s past controversial remarks, Kasich issued the following comment.
“I don’t run the party, I can tell you for me — I don’t support that. I couldn’t vote for that,” he said on Tapper’s State of the Union program. “I couldn’t tell you what the heck I’d have to do, but I don’t live in that state (Alabama). Those claims — I mean — the’re ludicrous. They’re divisive. And if that’s where we’re headed… If the Party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the Party. Period.”
Tapper then asked for clarification. Specifically, the CNN anchor questioned if the outgoing governor would ever become an independent if the GOP does not change its ways.
To that, Kasich did not offer a definitive answer.
The idea of leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent is, of course, a serious consideration of Kasich’s.
The governor of Ohio ran as an anti-Trump candidate during the 2016 Republican primary. After winning only his home state, Kasich went on to become one of the president’s most vocal critics from the right. Taking centrist positions on various issues, such as Defending Obamacare and wanting permanent legal status for Dreamers, the GOP governor has continually called for moderates on both sides of the aisle to come together to enact change.
In August, a source to Axios revealed that the idea of a “unity ticket” between Kasich and Colorado Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper has been causally discussed between the two men. Under the proposed plan, both candidates would run together as independents in the 2020 cycle, with Kasich at the top of the ticket and Hickenlooper as his running mate.
Claims of formulating an independent run for the White House in 2020 were emphatically denied.
However, it should be noted that CNN also reported an independent claim that the governor duo were in talks of running a unity ticket together.
Kasich and Hickenlooper are both finishing the remainder of their second terms and will be vacating office in January 2019 — they have nothing better to do. The two governors have become very familiar with each other over the years, having worked together extensively on health care, economic and other reform packages.
Having made two separate bids for the White House already — both times only drawing lukewarm interest from conservative voters — Kasich may feel that an independent campaign is his only possible route to the Oval Office.
As for now, Kasich has not completely shed his Republican affiliation.. but let’s not be too surprised if (or when) that day finally comes.