While Ohio Republicans keep close watch on GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney and the other GOP contenders, Gov. John Kasich has not yet endorsed a candidate. Ohio and its 66 delegates could be decisive in the election, depending on what happens in the South Carolina and Florida primaries, reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer
. Ohio’s primary is set for March 6 — Super Tuesday.
Kasich said several of the candidates have sought his advice, including Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, but he’s “just not inclined to wade into [an endorsement] right now.” The governor said he’s advised the candidates to “talk about jobs. That’s all that matters in the country right now.”
Kasich said he had supported Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who both decided not to seek the GOP nod.
Ohio’s Democrats, meanwhile, have been slamming Romney, the first Republican candidate since 1976 to win both the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.
“Candidate Romney comes out of New Hampshire wounded because that campaign exposed many aspects of his record," Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said. “While he claims to be a job creator, he’s spent his corporate career as a job cremator. Voters are seeing just how shameful his record is.”
The Democrats are getting fuel from Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, both of whom criticize Romney’s role with Bain Capital, a venture capital firm they accuse of looting companies.
Chris Maloney, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, says the 2008 campaign between Obama and Hillary Clinton shows a drawn-out battle won’t hurt the party’s chances in November. The attacks on Romney, said Maloney, won’t weaken him against Obama.
“This is all part of the presidential process,” Maloney said. “The fact it's occurring now prepares us for what we expect will be an onslaught” from the president during the general election campaign.
Obama has already turned his attention to winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes. He visited Cleveland a day after the Iowa caucuses, and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to be in Columbus today to discuss college costs and raise election financing.
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