Saying he was not “going to go out there and waste my time,” Gov. John Kasich said Thursday he would pass on a presidential run next year if he did not believe he could win.
In separate appearances on Capitol Hill and an economic gathering at a downtown Washington hotel, Kasich dwelled on some of the obstacles he might face if he enters the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking before a gathering sponsored by the Atlantic Magazine and the Koch Brothers on the economy, Kasich acknowledged that to run he would have to raise millions of dollars, joking at one point that “the Beatles were right — mostly. Money can’t buy you love.”
He made clear that simply running without any realistic prospect of winning held little appeal to him, saying he had “been in this business for a long enough time to kind of get a sense of whether it’ll work.”
“Why wouldn’t I run if I didn’t win?” Kasich asked. “Because I’ll tell you what: It’s a drain on your family. It’s a drain on your friends. And I also love my state. And I’m going to have manage the state at the same time I would do this — which I am confident I could do.”
A number of prominent Republicans have already made clear they plan to run, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Ted Cruz of Texas.
Because the others have been raising money and hiring some of the most notable Republican campaign advisers, Kasich is already at a disadvantage.
He is quick to point out that he has more government experience than the others in the field, noting that he is governor of a major state and the former chairman of the U.S. House budget committee. Still, he said again he has not made any decision.
“I’m traveling around the country, I’ve been in two critical states a number of times,” Kasich said, referring to New Hampshire and South Carolina. He also pointed out he has formed a non-profit organization to raise money for his travel, saying, “We’ll see how that goes, and we’ll see whether I can have the resources.”
Kasich is in Washington for a whirlwind tour through Saturday that includes three speeches, meetings with members of Congress, and an appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday as a guest of The Wall Street Journal.
Before his speech, Kasich met with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, about 20 House Republicans, and GOP members of the Ohio congressional delegation as he pushed for adoption of a constitutional amendment that would require the federal government to balance its budget.
“It’s a common sense issue,” said Kasich, who said only a constitutional amendment would force the federal government to live within its means. Currently 27 states have adopted Balanced Budget Amendments. Thirty-four states need to do so in order to force the issue.