Four Midwest governors considering bids for the GOP presidential nomination are hoping to tout their regional successes and connect with the middle class in a way Mitt Romney could not, Politico reports.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder all have stellar job-creation and balanced budget records, and hope to revive the GOP’s Reagan Democrat coalition while shedding the fat-cat GOP image as the party of the 1 percent, Politico reports.
The four were all under one roof at the annual Republican Governors Association, where the meeting had "the feel of an audition for the 2016 presidential race," The Wall Street Journal notes.
Though Republicans have nominated several Midwesterners for vice president, the last time the party put up a governor from the region for president was in 1936, when Kansas Gov. Alf Landon lost to Franklin Roosevelt, Politico reports.
Now one of the four could break the spell, Politico notes.
"Strong leadership, combined with Midwestern nice, there’s just a certain appeal to that," said Walker, who took on public unions and survived a bruising recall vote and a tough re-election to boot, Politico notes.
Politico described Kasich as a "pragmatic deal-maker" who supports granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants, while Snyder is known for his financial and technical know-how and conservative Pence is seen as a possible bridge over the divide between the GOP establishment and tea party, Politico reports.
"You look at the Electoral College map and what’s required to win. A good chunk of that runs through the Midwest," Walker told Politico.
"There’s Florida, Virginia, out West — Colorado, Nevada – maybe New Hampshire depending on the year – but really most of the rest of the map is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa. It’s all kind of right there. At least in recent political history, that’s kind of where it happens."
Politico reports Walker is likely to announce next summer. But, Politico notes, Kasich is still on the fence, Pence is waiting to see how the GOP field takes shape and Snyder appears least likely to take the plunge.
"It’s not geography for geography’s sake," said former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who sought the GOP nomination in 2012. "Geography is more of a proxy for personality and roots and background. Who you are depends in part on where you’re from."
Competition for donor dollars seems not to be a concern, Politico reports.
"There’s gonna be so many people in this field," Walker told Politico. "At the RGA here, the question isn’t who’s running. It’s easier to count who might not be running."
The candidates have their stark differences, including immigration, Medicare expansion and Common Core, Politico reports.
"You gotta be careful with the [immigration] rhetoric, because you get too far out on that, and people do," Kasich said at the RGA meeting, Politico reports. "You’re going to have to make some compromises."
On the Medicare expansion issue, Kasich and Snyder defend their moves to boost their states’ share of federal funding under Obamacare, Walker refused to do so and Pence is in the middle, opposing the expansion but seeking a state-based alternative.
And on Common Core, the federal education standards, Snyder and Kasich have defended the program, Pence withdrew Indiana from it and Walker plans to repeal them, Politico reports.
"If you’re trying to advance conservative messages in purple and blue places," Pawlenty said, "that takes another level of awareness, skill and effectiveness."
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