Ohio Gov. John Kasich became the second Republican presidential candidate of the 2016 election cycle to visit the Port City, hosting a campaign event at Wintzell’s Oyster House downtown on Tuesday evening.
Kasich, who was in town to officially petition the state for his name to appear on the March 1 primary ballot, was joined by Gov. Robert Bentley, who endorsed the candidate this summer. Bentley told the crowd he thought Kasich would be a strong leader, who truly cared for not only the people of his state, but also the people of the country.
“We have a lot of good Republican candidates, but we need a man who is a good leader … who has executive experience,” Bentley said. “I have watched all the candidates and I believe John Kasich is that man.”
In a short speech, Kasich touted his record as a congressman and governor, implying that his success in those arenas would lead to success as president.
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1983, Kasich said he was the only Republican candidate that year to defeat a Democratic incumbent. While serving in the house, the candidate said he spent 10 years trying to help balance the federal budget, before being successful in 1997.
He mentioned that he spent a decade in the private sector, before being elected governor of Ohio. He was reelected in 2014. As governor, he said he was able to turn an $8 billion deficit into a surplus, while also creating jobs.
He also said he was able to diversify the state’s economy and create “rock-solid” credit along the way.
Given his previous success, Kasich said he has a plan to once again balance the federal budget and cut taxes. He told the crowd if those issues can be addressed quickly, the country would be stronger because governors and mayors would be able to deal with problems on they own terms.
Kasich’s visit follows fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump, who stumped through Mobile in August. Trump held his event at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
A national CBS/New York Times poll showed Kasich will just 4 percent support in the Republican field.