Run, Gov. Kasich, run
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Please, John Kasich, please run for president. Suddenly headlines are lighting up with the Republican Ohio governor's name, and his late-to-the-game flirtation with a presidential campaign. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) lead the polls for the Republican nomination, and have been beating the early primary state pavement. Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate scraps plan to force second stopgap vote ahead of shutdown On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal Democratic debate at Tyler Perry's could miss the mark with black voters MORE (R-Ky.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters MORE (R-Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzLawmakers spar over surveillance flight treaty with Russia Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action Prisons chief: FBI investigating whether 'criminal enterprise' played role in Epstein death MORE (R-Texas) started building machines and getting out there a while ago, as well. It might seem early to Kasich, but this race is on. He should get out there if he really means it. Let's encourage him.

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Kasich elicits chuckles; he is quite quirky and isn't seen as the best campaigner. So since he also seems to be merely toying with it, while others are launching serious operations, it might be hard for donors and activists to see him as a true alternative. But as he told The New York Times: "I'm the governor of Ohio, O.K.?" And that is key — he has been handily reelected on a strong record in a presidential battleground state: How could be not be taken seriously?

On several issues, Kasich is seen as out of line with the party's base. He accused the GOP of "waging war on the poor," has increased funding for mental healthcare in Ohio and expanded Medicaid. He still maintains that he is as conservative as anyone in the field, in his direct-and-won't-back-down style. As former House Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE (R-Ga.) described it, "He is very conservative. But he is very unorthodox. So if he does run, it will be interesting to watch him."

Even if it doesn't last long, a Kasich run would do wonders fleshing out other Republican contenders like Bush, Walker, Paul, Rubio, Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Texas Gov. Rick PerryRick PerrySondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Energy: BLM employees who buck relocation must leave by early next year | Trump officials move to weaken efficiency standards for quick dishwashers | California officials boycott LA auto show in warning to industry Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony MORE. We would learn far more about those likely candidates if Kasich were with them on the debate stage and the campaign trail.

Run, John, run.

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