Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced he will join the 2016 presidential race on Tuesday at a speech in Columbus, Ohio. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 21 (UPI) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced Tuesday that he will campaign for the Republican nomination for president in the 2016 election.
"The sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again. I promise you it will happen," Kasich said in his announcement speech. "I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your efforts because I have decided to run for president of the United States."
Kasich announced his candidacy in a crowded Ohio Union atrium on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, his alma mater.
During the campaign, Kasich will emphasize his record as governor of balancing budgets, cutting taxes and creating jobs, but critics argue that he benefited from an improving national economy after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. He accepted Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, allowing 275,000 more Ohioans to sign up for Medicaid.
With a 60 percent approval rating in Ohio and his history in politics, Kasich, 63, is a credible candidate but enters the presidential race late.
He is the 16th announced Republican candidate and is tied for 11th place in polling, according to poll averages by RealClearPolitics. Only the top 10 candidates in national polls will be allowed to participate in Fox News' Republican nomination debate scheduled for Aug. 6.
Kasich first began his political career when he was elected member of the Ohio Senate in 1979. He then moved onto becoming a U.S. House of Representative in 1983, where he later served as Charmain of the House Budget Committee under former President Bill Clinton and earned the status of being a budget hawk by proposing alternative budgets that cut federal spending.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich credited Kasich as being most responsible for writing the bipartisan 1997 Balanced Budget Act, which balanced the budget by 2002 -- the last time the federal budget was balanced.
Kasich did not run for reelection in 2000, choosing instead to form an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run. He did not earn enough money during the exploratory period and dropped out of the race early -- endorsing the more-popular Gov. of Texas George W. Bush, who won the election.
Kasich withdrew from politics from 2001 until 2009. He worked for the Lehman Brothers investment firm and for Fox News as the host of From the Heartland with John Kasich until he ran for governor of Ohio in 2010 and was reelected in 2014.
On the issues, Kasich is pro-Israel, supports arming Ukraine and has suggested possibly sending U.S. combat troops to fight the Islamic State in Iraq. He also believes climate change is a problem, but condemns government environmental intervention, specifically on coal regulation -- a major industry in Ohio.
Kasich believes in "traditional marriage," but supports the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, stating it was "time to move on."
Kasich joins a wide field of announced Republican presidential candidates.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former New York Gov. George Pataki, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and real estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump have announced campaigns.
For the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley are in the running.