The Cincinnati Enquirer writes of Governor John Kasich:
In many ways, it is. Kasich is averaging less than 10 percent in recent GOP polls here and doesn’t expect to repeat his New Hampshire runner-up performance when South Carolina Republicans vote Saturday in the GOP’s third nominating contest. Donald Trump is expected to win, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are battling for second place.
But if New Hampshire was the place where Americans first noticed Kasich, South Carolina could turn out to be the place where his message finally caught on.
Southern conservatives may oppose Kasich’s stances on Medicaid expansion and immigration. But enough of the state’s moderates, often warm-weather retirees, have turned to him over the past week and a half that South Carolina’s early primary may allow him to knock off a key rival, Jeb Bush. Meanwhile, he’s getting national attention for his reluctance to criticize opponents and his broad message of neighborliness, compassionate government and problem solving.
Since finishing second in New Hampshire – in many ways, his first chance to address the nation with credibility as a candidate – Kasich has stayed out of near-shouting matches in a GOP debate and has gotten a chance to share his conversational town-hall style with a national television audience. He has finally cracked the top four in national polls and has gained enough name recognition that independents are telling pollsters they would like to vote for him over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
The Ohio governor has more experience in government than any of the other contenders in the Republican primary, but has come off as outside the current party thinking in his debate performances. Whatever Kasich decides to do after a probable drubbing in South Carolina, he’ll have made the case for a more neighborly, altruistic conservatism. That type of thinking often gets lost amongst the bravado and red meat filled speeches of the primary season.