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Is a Presidential run on Kasich’s mind?

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It’s a frosty January morning in Washington D.C., and the frozen lawn of the National Mall is covered in spectators. These men and women, who have travelled here from all parts of the nation, wave flags and clap their hands in anticipation. On Capitol Hill, politicians and dignitaries rise to their feet as the United States Marine Band plays “Hail to the Chief”. The spectators below break out into a roar as podium is approached by the new President of the United States: John Kasich.

Of course, Kasich is only the current governor of Ohio right now. He has won neither the presidential election nor a Republican primary. He has not even declared an intention to run. But the governor’s announcement that he will be visiting several states has raised speculations that he may enter the race for the Republican nomination.

The governor will visit Maine, New Hampshire and Michigan, and the purpose for these visits is to raise support for adding a balanced budget amendment.

“This is an issue that he feels very passionate about,” said Jim Lynch, Kasich’s spokesperson. “States like Ohio called for a convention for a balanced budget amendment, and so far 26 states have passed a resolution. Just eight more are needed. He’s visited nine states over the last several months.”

Those states include Arizona, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia and South Carolina.

Several, such as Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, are small and lack much influence in presidential elections. But states on his upcoming tour, like New Hampshire and South Carolina — his second visit to that state — are important stops for Republican primaries; they will both hold their primaries in February 2016.

Throughout it all, though, Kasich has stressed that this is not a presidential tour, but a drive to pass a new amendment.

“I’m down here to do this job,” Kasich said during a stop in South Carolina last month. “I mean, you may find me in New Hampshire before it’s over, but I’m not there because I’m running for president. I’m there because I want to talk about leadership. I want to talk about what we were able to do in the state.”

The budget is an important issue for Kasich. He served on the U.S. House Budget Committee from 1993 to 2001 and as chairperson from 1995 onward. During his time as chairperson, the United States saw its only budget surplus since 1969.

“Imagine how you would feel if you spent 10 years working toward the goal, and saw that vision turned upside down,” Lynch said. “He had great patience and persistence, as the chief architect back in 1997 with Clinton. The budget was balanced for four years, the first time that had happened since man walked on the moon.”

However, speculation surrounding a potential presidential bid has only continued to grow since Kasich’s acceptance speech following his re-election as Ohio’s governor. In that speech, he said, “This is not just another election, not a political campaign. This is a movement to restore hope in our state and maybe [will lead] to hope being restored all across the United States of America.”

At the moment, the race for the Republican presidential candidate is wide open. Of the candidates that have “formally explored candidacy,” Chris Christie has been rocked by scandal, Rick Perry is tagged with his failure in 2012 and Jeb Bush could be hurt by a nation tired of Bushes.

But Kasich and his staff, like Lynch, have declined to definitively answer whether the governor will run for president in 2016 or when such an announcement is to be expected.

“Right now, he’s out there to share the Ohio story,” Lynch said.

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