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Kasich return to N.H. in April fuels 2020 speculation

  • Former Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich, left, endorses Chris Sununu, right, for New Hampshire's governor during a news conference Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Jim Cole



For the Monitor
Thursday, January 25, 2018

John Kasich is coming back to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

The two-term Ohio governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate will headline a fireside chat at New England College in Henniker on April 3, as part of the school’s President’s Speaker Series.

The news of Kasich’s return to New Hampshire – first reported Thursday by the Monitor – will once again fuel rumors that he’s considering another White House bid in 2020.

There’s periodic speculation that Kasich, who finishes his second and final term as Ohio governor early next year, may challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

In an interview with the Monitor late last year, Kasich didn’t close any doors, saying after he leaves office as governor he was going to evaluate his next move.

“Everyone wants to know ‘what are you going to do.’ And I think nobody believes me when I tell them I do not know what I’m going to do,” he added.

Once a longshot for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Kasich concentrated his efforts on New Hampshire and came in second to Trump in the Feb. 2016 GOP primary. He kept his campaign alive deep into the primary calendar and unlike Trump’s other rivals for the Republican nomination, Kasich never endorsed Trump for president.

Kasich, who describes himself as a “conservative problem solver,” has remained a vocal critic of the President.

“I think the foreign policy is kind of a mess right now. And we tend to be going it alone. We’ve become anti-trade,” Kasich told the Monitor and WKXL radio in Concord in December. “These are not the things that I think fly high for the Republican Party. It doesn’t really represent the party that I’ve strongly believed in in my lifetime.”

After dropping his White House bid, Kasich returned to New Hampshire in August of 2016, to campaign with then-Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, who was at the time battling for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Sununu’s older brother, former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu, is a longtime Kasich friend and adviser.

Kasich was last in New Hampshire in April of last year, as part of a book tour.

“I love the place. How could I not. New Hampshire treated me so great. I have so many friends and people that I’m really affectionate about that live in New Hampshire,” he said at the time.

Kasich’s April 3 speaking event at New England College will take place at 6 p.m at the school’s Simon Center.