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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8eee0001John Kasich is Governor of Ohio. He declared his candidacy on July 21, 2015.Voters elected Kasich, a Republican, to the governor's office in 2010 and again in 2014. His political career also includes a stint in the Ohio state Senate and 18 years in Congress.In Washington, Kasich spent six years as chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he is credited with helping craft the 1997 balanced budget deal between President Bill Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.After leaving Congress in 2001, Kasich spent nearly a decade in the private sector, including working as a host on the Fox News Channel and at Lehman Brothers investment firm. As governor, Kasich has pursued some policies that set him apart within the Republican presidential field, including support for the Common Core State Standards and the authorization of expanded Medicaid through Obamacare.

Kasich's Steady Presence On The Primary Trail Pays Off With Second-Place Finish

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Kasich campaigns with former N.H. Sen. John Sununu in Concord.

John Kasich’s second-place finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary was perhaps the biggest surprise in a night that seemed full of foregone conclusions.  

While the Ohio governor took just 16 percent of the vote, his campaign is “the story coming out of New Hampshire," said his state chair John E. Sununu. “Nobody thought he could finish in the top tier let alone break through and beat Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and Marco Rubio and beat Ted Cruz."

Unlike Rubio and Cruz, who spent more time on the trail in Iowa, Kasich bet all his chips on the Granite State, telling voters at more than 100 town halls that carrying on to South Carolina and beyond depended on New Hampshire.

Tom Rath, a top advisor to the campaign and local GOP heavyweight, said second place is just what Kasich needed to build support for the upcoming contests.

“I am convinced we will get resources off of this [that] we will need to compete,” he said. “Every step builds on the one before it. We’re there.”

Rath says the fact that Kasich didn’t sling mud as much as his rivals, practiced good, old- fashioned retail politics and still came in second “is a good sign for democracy.”

Kasich’s speech at the Grappone Center in Concord Tuesday night wasn’t much different from his usual stump speech, which was considerably less ramped up than some of his rivals. 

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Kasich listens to a voter's question at an NHPR forum in November

“The people of NH have taught me a lesson,” he told supporters. “And from this day forward I am going to go slower and spend my time listening and healing and helping and bringing people together to fix our great country.”

And it seems those qualities aer attractive to Kasich’s supporters. Late in the evening, as he headed home, Mike Fimbel of Mont Vernon looked satisfied.

“He’s got so much experience, and he talks so much common sense and trying to draw people together," he said. "This is a big step - New Hampshire’s a big step.”

Kasich was already taking the next step: his campaign was scheduled to fly to South Carolina before all of New Hampshire’s ballots were counted.  

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