There is no love lost between Ohio Gov. John Kasich and state Treasurer Josh Mandel, both statewide Republicans.
Mandel backed Marco Rubio for president over Kasich. The two have tangled over their competing websites that allow for searching state spending data. The two men have taken opposite positions on hefty topics such as expanded Medicaid.
But this week it goes to a new level.
In a podcast interview with Politico this week, Kasich said “Any politician who is going to be in the dividing business, I’m not helping.”
When asked if that means he won’t support Mandel for U.S. Senate – as he did in 2012 – Kasich responded, “I don’t know what he’s going to be saying but if he is a negative guy, if he is a divider, I won’t.”
Mandel spokesman Chris Berry responded: "It's no secret that Josh Mandel supported Donald Trump during the campaign, stuck with him in the rocky times, and continues to support him as president. We understand that Josh's support for President Trump may upset Gov. Kasich and we respect his decision whenever the time is right for him. Either way, Josh is the hardened, unabashed conservative and Marine vet, ready to win a primary and ready to beat Sherrod Brown."
“Certainly, Mandel is trying to fashion himself a Trump-like candidate but Mandel and Kasich have not been close,” said Kyle Kondik, an editor at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
Kasich supported Mandel’s 2012 run for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown.
But now waiting in the wings as a possible primary challenger to Mandel in the U.S. Senate race in 2018 is U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi. Tiberi is a long-time Kasich friend and ally and served on Kasich’s Congressional staff for several years.
Mandel’s latest campaign has a more biting tone than the last. He’s made known that it’s modeled after the winning campaign of Kasich’s presidential rival, President Donald Trump.
Kasich takes on Trump’s tactics and tone in the new book he’s promoting, “Two Paths.” It advocates bipartisanship and community building.