Oh no. The most annoying candidate of 2016 may be back.
But don’t laugh. A Kasich primary challenge could be damaging to President Trump, win or lose.
John Kasich’s inner circle is gearing up for a possible presidential run in 2020 — actively weighing the prospect of a Republican primary challenge to President Donald Trump against the feasibility of a long-shot general election campaign as an independent.
And there’s one consideration driving their thinking perhaps more than any other: what some of his advisers consider the very real, maybe even likely, possibility that Trump doesn’t run again — by choice or not — or that the president becomes so politically hobbled by late next year that the political landscape fundamentally shifts in Kasich’s favor. That’s one reason Kasich has yet to decide whether to pursue an independent bid or a primary challenge.
Nine Republicans in or close with Kasich’s political operation told POLITICO that the departing Ohio governor has been working with a tight clutch of advisers and informally surveying donors and fellow pols about the shape of his next steps. So far, he has solidified his role as a go-to commentator for national news shows while stacking his schedule with trips including an April return to New Hampshire.
None of this is to say Kasich is a go for 2020. But his activity has undergone a marked shift from just a few months ago, when Kasich and his allies repeatedly denied any interest whatsoever in the White House, even as he embarked on a book tour.