Kasich giving a speech

Tuesday March 15 is just around the corner and the national media hordes will be descending into central Ohio, the swing region in the swing state, to cover the presidential primary.

On the Democratic side, the slugfest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be coming to a head with Sanders needing a victory to overcome Clinton's growing lead..

Former Gov. Ted Strickland is also on the ballot, trying to fend off challenger and Cincinnati councilman P.G. Sittenfeld for the U.S. Senate Democratic nomination. Ordinarily, Strickland, well-known and well-liked by Ohio Democrats, would be home free against a little-known newcomer, but Sittenfeld has been cozying up to the Sanders campaign and could ride a Sanders wave into contention, even an upset.

Strickland is a longtime Clinton supporter, owing her for helping him win a close race his southeast Ohio Congressional seat way back when. Strickland could be harmed and Sittenfeld helped if Clinton slumps or is wounded by the FBI investigation of her emails while secretary of state.


The Franklin County commissioner Democratic primary between incumbent Paula Brooks and challenger State Rep. Kevin Boyce could be affected as well. Boyce has Strickland's and the county party's support but that could backfire if Sanders surges and Clinton falls.

Brooks, Sheriff Zach Scott and Recorder TJ Brown were "dis-endorsed" by the county party for supporting Scott for Columbus mayor last year.

This is the latest installment of the long-running soap opera: Democrats Can't Stand Success. Democrats too often fight among themselves in primaries, are weakened and then lose to Republicans in the fall. This demented approach cost Democrats control of the Statehouse in 2010. Sittenfeld and the Franklin County Democratic Party leaders are not helping Democrats return to prominence in Ohio.


However, the biggest political event and the one that will attract the most national media attention will be the Republican primary for president that still include Ohio Gov. John Kasich despite his flops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Despite his woeful showings, Kasich took full advantage of Ohio taxpayers by spending upwards of $1 million on providing security and transportation for him while he campaigned out of state week after week and neglected his duties in Ohio, as we reported last month in the Columbus Free Press. Subsequently, the Associated Press appeared to confirm our report when it stated that overtime for the Ohio Highway Patrol had skyrocketed since Kasich began his run for the presidency.

The national media treated Kasich as if had won New Hampshire primary, where he finished a distant second to Donald Trump. MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Brian Williams slobbered over Kasich's election night remarks and his "prince of light" and other religious references like "reshine."

Kasich has found a niche with the national media. It is that he is not as crazy as the other candidates. And his background as a talk show host for Fox News has trained him to relate well to other media types.


In an effort to keep his campaign alive until the Ohio primary, Kasich dumped out of South Carolina, where he was about to lose big, and headed to Michigan, which holds its GOP primary March 8. He was polling a distant second to Trump there.

Kasich spent two days in mid-February kowtowing to the Wolverine State and forgetting to mention that Sebring, in northeast Ohio, has its own lead-in-the-water-pipes controversy similar to the disaster in Flint, Mich. Sebring's woes are courtesy of Kasich's EPA.

While in Michigan, Kasich is trying to overcome his connections to his alma mater the Ohio State University, the athletic rival to both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.


Kasich won that day's contest of politicians will say anything to win by singing the praises of MSU basketball coach and icon Tom Izzo. Luckily, the Ohio media either failed to cover this heresy to the Buckeyes or downplayed it, including when Izzo's team drubbed the Buckeyes in Columbus on Feb. 23.

Wrapping himself in Izzo was politically astute because MSU is located in the middle of the Lower Peninsula, outside Democratic haven of southeast Michigan. The rest of the state is more likely to be Republican, including the Upper Peninsula, where Izzo grew up and is a bit of a hero.

If Kasich can win Michigan, he can argue that he is still a viable candidate in the Ohio primary March 15 and maybe, just maybe finish first in his home state. But Donald Trump blocks his path in Ohio. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Trump leading Kasich by 5 points in Ohio, echoing results by the same pollster from late 2015.

Should Kasich lose to Trump in Ohio, Kasich would be out of the running for the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 18-21.


Kasich knows there are consolation prizes for staying in the hunt. There would be a brokered convention, where his long ties with the GOP establishment might pay off with the presidential nomination. There is a chance to play kingmaker by steering the nomination to somebody who will later reward Kasich with the vice presidential nod, which he denies interest in but would take in a minute, or with a cabinet post under a new Republican president as a reward for helping the GOP ticket carry Ohio on Nov. 8.

If you depend on the Columbus Dispatch ( and the Cleveland Plain Dealer's for political coverage of Kasich's campaign, you will find that Kasich is covered very favorably, as if he personified the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. Most Ohioans are fans of the Buckeyes, far fewer of Kasich.


The recent front page coverage in the Dispatch of a snowball fight in New Hampshire between Kasich and Dispatch reporter Darrel Rowland signaled a new low in superficial coverage.

With the national media coming to town, the big brothers and sisters of political journalism will shine the spotlight on the Dispatch and and the national media will take a tougher look at Kasich and his duplicitous ways.

Maybe the Dispatch and will follow suit.

Of that, there is not a snowball's chance in hell!

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(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2016, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)aHar


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