Is Gov. Kasich Trying to Torpedo Ohio Congressional Candidate on the Eve of a Critical Special Election?
Ohio Governor John Kasich appeared on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday and ignited a firestorm over the role President Trump is playing in a critical race in Ohio between Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson and Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, a Democrat. The candidates will face off for Rep. Pat Tiberi's abandoned U.S. House seat in what is expected to be a tight contest on Tuesday.
On Saturday, Trump, who had previously endorsed Balderson, attended a rally to support the candidate in Lewis Center, Ohio.
"But to continue our incredible success, we must elect more Republicans and we must elect Troy Balderson," Trump told the crowd in Ohio. "We have to elect Troy. So get your friends, get your neighbors, get your family and get out and vote for Troy on Tuesday. Loyal citizens, great people like you help build this country, and together we are taking back this country. We are returning power to where it belongs -- to the American people."
"Mr. President, we can't go back," Balderson, 56, said at the rally. "I'm not tired of winning." But he said his opponent has a different idea. "Dishonest Danny O'Connor wants to repeal those middle-class tax cuts. Dishonest Danny O'Connor wants to take away your guns. Dishonest Danny supports open borders and sanctuary cities. Dishonest Danny O'Connor will fight against the policies that are turning this country around," Balderson said with the president at his side.
During the interview with Stephanopoulos, Kasich seemed to be second-guessing his own endorsement of Balderson, who Kasich said has "worked with me for eight years in the legislature." Kasich, who's had an ongoing feud with Trump dating back to the 2016 primaries, questioned why Balderson would invite Trump to his rally.
"You know, I don't know, on his website or whatever—I asked him the other day, 'Why are you bringing Trump in?''" Kasich said.
Balderson replied, "I don't have anything to do with it," according to Kasich.
The Ohio governor seemed angry that Balderson didn't support Kasich's beloved Obamacare, a program he's fought hard to maintain in Ohio and nationwide. "But I don't like what I just heard about this health care," Kasich said, likely referring to a statement Balderson made to the Columbus Dispatch saying, "As a member of Congress, I would vote to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all and bring true market reforms to the health care industry that increase competition and drive down the cost of premiums for consumers."