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That Time When John Kasich Helped Bury a Dead Dog After a N.H. Campaign Event

Linda Kaiser

In the spring and summer of 1999, then Ohio Congressman John Kasich was in the midst of his first presidential campaign in New Hampshire. As we've reported elsewhere, it was a campaign with some striking similarities to his current run.

Despite the fact that Kasich's earlier presidential bid lasted just a few months, it created its fair share of iconic New Hampshire Primary moments. 

Here's one: It happened as Linda Kaiser of Amherst was preparing to host a campaign event for Kasich. Co-hosting that night was Kaiser's dog, a sheltie named Magic.

Linda told the story in her own words during an interview with NHPR.

Credit Linda Kaiser
Linda's husband, Chris Kaiser, with their dog Magic.

The Associated Press ran this story about Magic in 1999.

June 3, 1999 -- CONCORD, N.H. (AP)  Would-be presidents have done lots of unusual things on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. But Rep. John Kasich probably is the first to dig a grave -- for a dog.

Linda Kaiser accidentally ran over her dog, Magic, a 13-year-old black Shetland sheepdog, as she hurried to get some last-minute things for a coffee chat she was hosting for the Ohio Republican at her Amherst home May 1.

``I started backing up and I heard this little thump, and I got out of my car and there he was,'' Kaiser said in a telephone interview Thursday. ``He looked at me and then he died.''

Kaiser said she stashed Magic's body in the barn and covered him with a towel.

When he heard what had happened, Kasich took Kaiser outside and asked if she wanted to cancel the gathering. Not a chance, she said.

The Republican presidential candidate lingered until all the guests had left, then said it was time to tend to Magic.

``I'm not leaving here without burying this dog because if I do my wife will divorce me after she kills me,'' Kaiser said Kasich told her when she protested his offer to help.

And so Kasich and Kaiser's husband, Christopher, grabbed shovels from the barn and dug a grave for Magic.

``I don't know if I would see the other candidates doing that,'' she said. ``When you watch them on television, they always seem so busy. He wasn't too busy.''

That Kasich is keen for canines should come as no surprise to anyone who visits his campaign Internet site, which prominently displays photos of his dog, Penny Bird.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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