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GOP Unity Watch: Kasich Refuses to Endorse DeWine

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John Kasich: “I’m very concerned about Medicaid expansion”

Mike DeWine: “It will not exist as we know it”

When it comes to party unity, Mike DeWine and the Ohio Republicans have a tough road ahead. At a press conference earlier today, Republican Gov. John Kasich refused to endorse his party’s new nominee. When asked about the results of last night’s primaries, Kasich failed to even acknowledge DeWine by name. “It was held and some people won,” said Kasich.
That’s not exactly a vote of confidence from the governor of your own party.
But Kasich dropped a heavy hint about his refusal to embrace DeWine: Ohio’s Medicaid expansion. Kasich made it very clear that keeping the expansion, which has given healthcare to more than 700,000 Ohioans, was one of his top hopes for the next governor.
Watch his remarks HERE:

Q: Any thoughts on yesterday’s primary?
KASICH: Like what? It was held and some people won.
Q: [Inaudible] In your position next year. Your thoughts on the Republican primary? 
KASICH: Well I think I said a lot of it. We need risk takers. There’s two things that I am concerned about, whoever is the governor. First of all we want to maintain the private nature and the incredible efforts of JobsOhio. Any effort to politicize that and take that back into the government, to me, would be a disaster. But I am going to be like a former president and I’m not going to say much about what is happening because I am not going to be in that job.
“The second thing I’m very concerned about is Medicaid expansion, and the need and the ability to serve people in need. These are two things that are very, very important to me. The sanctity so to speak of JobsOhio – and you can go to the Alex Fishers and the people around the state and they will tell you how critical that operation is. And I feel very, very strongly about the issue of Medicaid expansion.
And I want to see uniters. I don’t want to see dividers. I want to see a uniter – somebody that can transcend politics to put the people of the state first. So we’ll see. I’ll be watching.

This is a major policy difference between DeWine and the governor. DeWine spent the entire primary attacking the expansion – and the Kasich administration by extension – in paid media, speeches, and forums around the state. “It will not exist as we know it,” promised DeWine.
It’s hard to see how they can come together after that. As Gov. Kasich said, “We’ll see.”
“John Kasich’s refusal to endorse Mike DeWine today, shows just how divided Republicans are heading into the general election,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director David Turner. “Mike DeWine’s sold his soul to extreme far-right voters in the primary, and now health care for 700,000 Ohioans is hanging in the balance. John Kasich is right to be worried that Mike DeWine would end Medicaid expansion as Ohioans know it.”