DURHAM — Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on Thursday he will not file to run for president in 2020.
Kasich was at the University of New Hampshire in Durham talking with Republican strategist Tom Rath about his new book, “It’s Up to Us: Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change,” when the subject came up.
“I have to ask one question or else they’ll throw me out of here, which they probably will anyways, but, I live in Concord and I have to drive to Concord. The State House is in Concord. You want to take a ride with me?” Rath asked.
Kasich declined the invitation, saying he does not intend to run for president in this election cycle because he cannot see himself winning.
“You have to have a legitimate shot. You have to have a path. And every time I have run, I’ve always thought that I would win, but I’ve always told people, ‘If you don’t think you can win, then you shouldn’t run,’” Kasich said.
“So, what it looks like for me, at this point in time is there is no path. We’re only eight days from the final deadline here and I don’t intend to file because I don’t see a path,” Kasich said.
Kasich finished second in the Republican primary in New Hampshire in 2016. He captured 15.8 percent of the vote while now-President Donald Trump earned 35.3 percent of the vote.
When pushed by audience members during the question-and-answer session, Kasich said he does not need to hold a political office to be active and he is working with others to shape the future of the Republican party, which he said he no longer recognizes.
Kasich said the national deficit and health care reform are issues that matter most to him.
“I’ll tell you what my situation is at home. Health care for me and for my wife and twin daughters is $30,000 a year. And my two daughters and my wife have a $5,000 deductible, so it’s possible, God forbid, that’s $45,000. Who’s got $45,000 to spend?” Kasich said.
Kasich said the solution to the health care crisis in this country is not Medicare for All. It’s transparency within the system and paying doctors bonuses for keeping people healthy at lower costs.
In the crowd were UNH students Anna Pollak, of Meredith, Alex Stern, of East Greenwich, R.I., and Gwen Fifield, of Moultonborough.
Stern had been in Concord earlier in the day to meet Vice President Mike Pence as he filed paperwork for Trump to be on the ballot in the New Hampshire primary. He had a photo with Pence on his cell phone and asked Kasich for a similar picture after the UNH event.
Stern is a College Republican but says he would not wear a “Make America Great Again” hat on campus. Pollak and Fifield agreed that admitting to supporting Trump at UNH is not wise because of the way other students would react.
When asked about this during the press gaggle, Kasich said when he was young, he was alone in his support for the Republican party.
“I think it would be silly for someone to be mad at somebody because they’re wearing a hat, so if you want to wear a hat, wear a hat,” Kasich said.
After other members of the media left the room, Kasich did ask Rath to take note, saying members of the administration at UNH need to pay attention to that issue.
Kasich, who is 67, did not rule out a run for president in 2024, noting that he would be younger in four years than some of the current Democratic hopefuls are.