Gov. Kasich enters GOP White House race touting ‘skills and experience’

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday announced he will join the 2016 Republican primary race for the White House, telling voters he has the “skills and experience” to restore the American dream.

Kasich, known for his bluntness, was overwhelmingly re-elected last year to a second term as governor, winning bipartisan support for cutting taxes and improving the state economy.

Prior to becoming governor, Kasich served in the U.S. House from 1983 to 2001, where in 1995 he ascended to chairman of the chamber’s Budget committee. In 1997, he helped seal a federal balanced budget deal.

Kasich also made a White House bid in 2000, but dropped out before the Iowa Straw Poll.

“He’s certainly going to be a viable candidate,” Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins told on Monday. “No one’s more qualified than he is. No one has more knowledge about the federal government. … He was an extraordinary governor.”

No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio.

Kasich, a former Fox News Channel commentator, is now one of four governors in the GOP field — joining New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.

One of his biggest challenges will be getting into the top tier of Republican candidates to qualify for some early debates. And he must convince primary voters who question his conservative credentials that his decision to expand ObamaCare in Ohio was a moral imperative to help the poor.

“John Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio in 2013 was a costly mistake,” said David McIntosh, president of Club for Growth. “Medicaid enrollment in Ohio has far outpaced Kasich’s projections and more than doubled in cost. The Club for Growth is concluding its research into Kasich’s broader record on issues of economic freedom. But, our presidential white paper on the Ohio governor will, no doubt, warn of the long-lasting consequences from his decision to burden Ohio with an ever-growing price tag for Medicaid expansion.”

Unions that turned back an effort by Kasich and fellow Republicans to limit public workers’ collective bargaining rights say Kasich’s successes have come at a cost to local governments and schools, and that new Ohio jobs lack the pay and benefits of the ones they replaced. They plan a protest outside Tuesday’s launch.

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>Gov. Kasich enters GOP White House race touting ‘skills and experience’