Buckeye pride at the Kasich presidential candidacy announcement

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Photo Credit:Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch

Gov. John Kasich announced his candidacy for president today in the heart of the Ohio State University student union, leaving the mostly local crowd happy with the decision and the location.

Among the throng of supporters who filled the space to capacity (about 150 people watched the announcement from an overflow room elsewhere in the building) were former U.S. Sen. John Sununu (New Hampshire), Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, U.S. Reps. Pat Tiberi (Ohio 12th) and Steve Stivers (Ohio 15th), and former Buckeyes football star Archie Griffin.

Starting the rally with an "O-H," Griffin said the university was honored to host the announcement and that Kasich and his "Buckeye family" were friends of the university. Both Kasich and his wife, Karen, are graduates of Ohio State.

During his announcement, Kasich reflected on the many times he was told he couldn't do something but proved he could. When he was a freshman, he told the crowd, he walked into Ohio Stadium and sat at the 50-yard line. "Either this place is going to take me down, or I'm going to take it down," he recalled thinking. "I'm back here today so many years later, and guess what? I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your efforts, because I have decided to run for president of the United States of America," he said.

Supporters surrounded the podium and stood along balconies in the union. People young and old waved flags and signs, chanting, "Run, John, run."

Local attendees were thrilled with the governor's choice of venue.

"To bring everyone to the center of the city takes away some division," said David Moriarty, 53, of Columbus. "This is something he has already done a pretty good job with."

Laura McCoy, 51, of Westerville, said she had been unsure whether she would support Kasich for president. "What convinced me was when he stood up to his party about the Medicaid issue," she said.

"I think it was brilliant to have it here, connecting it to his alma mater and to pick up on the Buckeye pride and what Ohio is," she added. "I've seen what he's done for Ohio and how he's made it stronger."

-- ByMadeline Kaufman