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Mitch Perry Report for 7.22.15 — Stop saying John Kasich needs to be in the 1st debate

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

John Kasich announced his candidacy at Ohio State University on Tuesday. When you look at his resume and his center-right political persona, he could/should be a top-tier contender.

But nobody seems to be talking about that today. Instead, the focus is on the fact that he’s entering the race some seven months later than Jeb Bush did. Excuse me, when Bush said he was “testing the waters” but set up a political action committee that was able to raise over $100 million, most of it before he actually became an official candidate five weeks ago, that’s a problem for Kasich.

The Ohio governor is barely registering in the polls, which shouldn’t make him feel as bad as Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum or Rick Perry or some of the other bottom dwellers, since he wasn’t a candidate until yesterday.

“The first debate, to me, is the first primary,” The New York Times quotes Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. Down puts Kasich in the top tier of candidates like Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker — candidates who “have a real legitimate shot at winning the nomination.” But, Dowd said, “he needs to get on that stage.”

Look, he’s not going to get on that stage. That debate is just two weeks away, and it would be stunning if he started getting, say, 7 percent in national polls, which could get him into the event, being held in Cleveland.

Kasich quit his candidacy for the 2000 presidency back in July 1999, realizing that George W. Bush had already sewn up the nomination, essentially. A few months ago he said that he thought Jeb Bush would have put the field away, but hadn’t, creating an opening for him.

In his campaign speech yesterday, he distinguished himself from Bush and every other Republican who’d given a similar speech this year — he failed to mention the words, “Barack” or “Obama.”

Some critics call him this year’s version of Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and Obama ambassador to China who left the administration to run for the nomination four years ago, and got no traction whatsoever. Too bad for the GOP, as Huntsman had real potential to beat Obama.

So does Kasich. And other than Bush, who else can you say that about among the GOP field?

In other news..

While The Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows Donald Trump with a double-digit lead over his closest Republican rivals was the big news on Monday night, a closer look at the poll might alarm some Jeb Bush enthusiasts. It’s not the fact that he’s behind Scott Walker in the survey, which comes nearly a full half-year before the Iowa Caucuses, the first time anybody will actually vote in this contest.

David Jolly has been a pretty strong conservative in his short time in Congress, despite what the Club for Growth says. But his support for expanding travel opportunities for Americans to visit Cuba could get a rude reaction from his GOP Senate opponents.

Naze Sahebzamani is running against Republican Ross Spano in next year’s House District 59 seat (Brandon, Valrico). In this post, she says why she would be a good representative.

The American Legislative Exchange Council is beginning its three-day annual conference in San Diego, starting today. No fewer than seven House Republicans from the Florida Legislature will be in attendance.

And Patrick Murphy seems determined to get the endorsement of every last single Democratic mayor in Florida in his quest for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate next year.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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