Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Donate today to give back in celebration of all that #PublicMediaGives. Your contribution will be matched $1 for $1.
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0001Click on a photo to find stories by candidate:0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0002More Content:Our Voters Guide provides an overview of all you need to know about the 2016 N.H. Presidential Primary.Click here to explore a calendar of candidate visits and other Primary campaign events.Click here for our Money in Politics stories and data interactives.Visit our Where They Stand series for an overview of the candidates' positions on key policy questions.Visit our series Primary Backstage to learn about the people and places that make the N.H. Primary tick.To see NHPR photos from the campaign trail, visit our Primary 2016 album on Flickr.

In N.H., Kasich Comes Off as 'Moderate'; Ohioans See Different Side

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Kasich speaks to the press after filing his candidacy for the N.H. Primary

During primaries, candidates usually try to appeal to their party’s hardliners. In New Hampshire, John Kasich has been doing the opposite: pitching himself as a mainstream politician with a bipartisan record. 

Ask a Kasich supporter what they like about him? You’ll hear something like this:

"Middle of the road...Not an ideologue...He’s more moderate.

  Of course, terms like “moderate” and “conservative” are in the eye of the beholder. And, candidates pick and choose what parts of their records to highlight.

On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, John Kasich describes himself like this:

"Now I’m a Republican, but the party is my vehicle, it’s never been my master."

Karen Kasler is Statehouse Bureau Chief at Ohio Public Radio.

"Based on his record in Ohio, there are people who will point you to things they say show that Kasich is definitely conservative, he is definitely Republican party line on issues, and is just as conservative as any of them on the social issues."

Kasich is known for his anti-abortion efforts in Ohio, and was the face of a battle against public unions in the state. But how much of that reputation is making its way to New Hampshire?

In a smoky VFW hall in Raymond, Timmy Fortier is wearing a green Vermont steel-workers sweatshirt.

"I like that he’s not a full-force Republican."

Fortier says he’s not familiar with Kasich’s battles with labor:

"As someone that was a former union carpenter, I wouldn’t support it.  But I haven’t done my research into what actually happened."

Stratham resident Esteban Rubens is standing just feet from Fortier.

"I am a registered Independent and I voted for Obama twice."

Rubens says he’s pro-choice, and wishes Kasich were too. But, he says:

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Kasich answers a question at an NHPR candidate forum

"No one’s perfect. They all suck this year – they’re really quite awful. Clearly I have concerns, but you gotta pick someone, and I wanna vote, so."

On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, Kasich isn’t volunteering these parts of his record.  But he often brings up issues that put him at odds with his base, like backing common core, and expanding Medicaid.

"One thing that I did do that Ronald Reagan did, is I expanded Medicaid like you did in New Hampshire."

And while that’s working in his favor with voters like Fortier and Rubens, it could be working against him with voters like Richard Logan of Derry.

"He’s a little too moderate for me. My main concerns are religious issues, illegal aliens, jobs.  I’m a pretty right wing guy."

After seeing Kasich, Logan says, he’ll be voting for Cruz or Christie. Two candidates he says are “'quote' conservative."

Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.