Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Thursday he’s done talking about his party’s presidential candidate, Republican Donald Trump, who Kasich has refused to endorse.
“I’ve said all I need to say about Trump. My actions speak louder than my words,” said Kasich, appearing with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, at Portman’s Washington Twp. campaign headquarters.
Kasich plans to campaign for some Republican state legislators in Ohio and for U.S. House and Senate candidates in Ohio, New Hampshire, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and Florida. But he said Portman tops his list.
“Rob’s going to win this race. I have no doubt about it,” Kasich said. “It doesn’t even matter what happens at the top of the ticket. I think he’s been able to separate himself and make this race about who he is and what he’s for.”
Portman is running for re-election against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who has made much of the fact that Portman has endorsed Trump, the controversial GOP nominee who a growing list of prominent Republicans say they cannot support.
“Today is a clear and compelling reminder that – by refusing to endorse Donald Trump – Governor Kasich has shown the kind of moral courage and independence that Senator Portman has not,” Strickland said in emailed comments. “Senator Portman’s twisted logic goes something like this: he is so ashamed of Donald Trump that he won’t stand on the same platform with him, but Portman continues to believe Trump should be the President of the United States and even trusts him with the awesome and destructive power of our nuclear weapons.”
Strickland was portrayed by Kasich and Portman as a failed governor who oversaw a decline in jobs and left the state with an $8 billion projected budget deficit and a nearly drained rainy day fund.
But Strickland spokesman David Bergstein said that even though Strickland headed the state during the difficult days of the Great Recession he “put Ohio on the road to economic recovery: he balanced every budget, cut taxes for every Ohioan, and by the time he left office Ohio had the fifth fastest growing economy in the country.”
Kasich and Portman also took turns praising each other at Thursday’s stop in Montgomery County, which is part of Portman’s RV tour of the state.
“Rob is one of the brightest stars in the U.S. Senate,” said Kasich, emphasizing the importance of keeping Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.
The two met with mostly young volunteers working for Portman’s campaign locally, with Kasich telling them to “realize you are doing something bigger than yourself.”
Portman told the volunteers that their office “has rocked,” making 500,000 calls or door knocks for the campaign.
Volunteer Nicholas Panson, 16, of Bellbrook, said he’s working for Portman because he wants to be more politically involved and is considering a future run for political office.
“I really like hearing from voters about what they’re passionate about and how we can make a difference with what our approach to leadership is,” Panson said.
During comments to the media afterward, Kasich talked about how he plans to spend his last two years as governor. He called for reforming the welfare and job training systems, which he said are not working to get people out of poverty.
“We have incentives on passing things out and very little effort to try to help people get out of the ditch where they find themselves,” Kasich said.
Kasich also said Dayton hasn’t gotten enough attention for being the birthplace of aviation and he wants to name the state’s drone efforts after the Wright brothers.
He said the state needs to continue cutting taxes, balancing budgets and “working on the economy.”
“You don’t think I’m going to go to sleep here in the last two years. I’m just ramping up,” Kasich said.
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