Ohio Governor John Kasich held a rally at Iona College in New Rochelle Saturday, the first of the three remaining Republican presidential candidates to hold a campaign event in Westchester County. His audience of about 1,000 was supportive, beginning and ending with standing ovations and reacting positively throughout his remarks.
The audience was a mix of ages, with a strong but not predominant number of Iona students, and overwhelmingly white. The audience members I spoke with were about evenly divided between strong Kasich supporters and interested but undecided.
Kasich offered himself as an accomplished alternative to Trump and Cruz, touting his lengthy tenure in Congress and his gubernatorial experience as effective preparation for the White House. His presentation was heavy on exhortations of the importance of caring and the value in fully developing each person’s true self. It’s somewhat Oprah-esque; offering a sense of caring that contrasts sharply with Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz. It also contrasts sharply with the apparent mood of many voters in an election dominated by anger.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders returned to his childhood block today, holding a brief rally in front of his childhood home. Speaking to a crowd of several hundred in Midwood, with several hundred more in an overflow area, Sanders reminisced a bit but largely stuck to his established campaign themes.
Seven candidates for the 13th congressional district seat currently held by Charles Rangel met for a candidate forum Sunday. Hosted by the Allianza Dominicana Cultural Center, the forum featured Adam Clayton Powell IV, Michael Gallagher, Assembly member Keith Wright, Suzan Johnson Cook, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Clyde Williams and Assembly member Guillermo Linares.
The New Hampshire Republican party drew seven presidential candidates to a town hall held two weeks ahead of the New Hampshire primary. Candidates participating included Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore. Chris Christie cancelled, returning to New Jersey as a major snowstorm hit his state, with his wife Mary Pat Christie appearing on his behalf.
Ohio Governor John Kasich claimed a practical victory Tuesday night, placing second in the New Hampshire Republican primary behind Donald Trump. Kasich’s late rise in the last few days, moving him out of the governors mini-pack he cohabited with Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and modestly but clearly past Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, vindicated his New Hampshire-centric strategy.
Kasich continued his campaign theme of a self-described positive focus with a renewed denunciation of negative advertising, declaring that “tonight the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning.” In an atypical statement from a candidate celebrating a favorable primary election outcome Kasich pledged not to accelerate and work even harder, but to slow down. Speaking of deeply personal encounters with people sharing their struggles at his town halls Kasich said “from this day forward I’m going to go slower and spend my time listening and healing and helping and bringing people together to fix our great country.”
Was Tuesday night his high point or just the beginning? Kasich faces a challenging road ahead as his New Hampshire-centric strategy means that he has limited organization and support in the upcoming primary states, with limited time and money to capitalize on his New Hampshire success. A winnowing field and an expected spike in media attention will provide opportunity, but no guarantee of success.
Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich rolled through New Hampshire with an ad hoc band of brothers last Friday, continuing his New Hampshire-focused campaign. Kasich was joined by former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey, former Air Force pilot and P.O.W. Tom Moe who was held in the “Hanoi Hilton” alongside John McCain and who later served as the Ohio Director of Veterans Services under Kasich, and Tim Penny, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota. Tom Rath, a former New Hampshire Attorney General and Republican power broker, also accompanied Kasich but did not address the audience.
Speaking to a modest-sized audience of about 40 people in Franklin, the four travelers appeared to greatly enjoy each other’s company. Their presentations were heartfelt, quickly moving into deeply personal territory. Moe’s experience as a prisoner of war for five years, with beatings and other torture, is riveting and inspiring even 40 years later. While discussing Moe’s time working in the Kasich administration as state director of veterans services and their meetings with families of soldiers lost in war, Kasich discussed the loss of his own parents, killed together in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. His introduction of Tim Penny, a former Democratic congressman who served alongside Kasich, included the fact that Penny’s wife died about ten years ago. Although hardly light and breezy, it all seemed to fit together and gave a window into Kasich and his compatriots. Continue reading Band of Brothers→
Jeb Bush held a town hall in Hampton, New Hampshire Thursday evening, engaging his audience and finding support yet tangled in his many challenges. Bush spoke to about 150-200 people for an hour and 20 minutes, with another 25 minutes spent saying hello, shaking hands, taking pictures and at times hugging everyone who wanted to do so.
Bush has many strengths; he’s skilled at retail politics and the back and forth of a town hall, with substantial experience as a two-term governor and knowledge of many issues and topics. He continues to be hampered by his weak points, however. Foremost among those weak points is a decidedly different personality from what voters have, so far anyway, indicated that they are looking for in a 2016 Republican candidate. He’s not low-energy but he is largely low emotion, seemingly interested in ideas, data, how to change things and not structured around visceral anger. In a campaign season dominated by Donald Trump’s disgust at the state of America and Ted Cruz’s attacks on government tyranny the analytical Bush is a man adrift.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wrapped up a four day New Hampshire bus tour Thursday afternoon in Manchester. Speaking to 150-200 people, Cruz painted a dark portrait of America as a “country in crisis” and “at the edge of a cliff”, with saving the country as beyond both Democrats and other Republicans.
Cruz’s basic theme was a combination of the destruction caused by President Obama, saying that “constitutional rights are under assault each and every day”, and the role of faith, prayer and Judeo-Christian values in restoring America to its rightful greatness, declaring that “there is an awakening that is sweeping this country.”
Cruz fully embraced his reputation as a man intensely disliked by many, including his Republican Senate colleagues. Although his disdain is first and foremost directed at President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democrats generally, he enthusiastically attacked the “bipartisan corruption of career politicians in both parties.” His audience seemed to share that view, primarily rejecting Democrats but also showing disdain for Republicans. Later, as the crowd dispersed, two 40-ish men were discussing their Cruz enthusiasm. Their bonding intensified as each revealed that they were first drawn to Cruz “when he called Mitch McConnell a liar on the floor of the Senate.”
His world has been torn asunder and he’s not quite sure what to do about it. Among Jeb Bush’s observations at a recent town hall was the somewhat stilted characterization that “the world has been torn asunder.” There’s truth in that statement, but it’s not the way that other candidates or most voters would say it.
Jeb Bush is a candidate out of sync with the current mood in his party who, notwithstanding some significant strengths, continues to struggle at gaining traction as the New Hampshire primary approaches. He held a lengthy town hall Friday night in Hollis, New Hampshire, speaking with about 200 people for an hour and a half. Casting himself as the “only guy taking Donald Trump on”, Bush argued that both electorally and substantively the Republican Party and the country will ultimately decide that they want “a serious leader” and that he is that “serious leader.” His audience was very attentive and receptive, starting and ending with a standing ovation for Bush, but mostly they listened as he spoke for about 20 minutes and then answered 16 questions over an hour and ten minutes.
Donald Trump drew a crowd to Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel today, but he slipped in and out without encountering the protesters and gawkers waiting for him at the main entrance. A crowd of about 200-300, along with a significant press contingent, gathered in anticipation of his appearance at a benefit luncheon.
Seemingly split about evenly between people voicing opposition to Trump and those curious or drawn to the spectacle, their anticipation would be unsatisfied. Aided by a bullhorn, a group steadily chanted anti-Trump slogans as his arrival drew near. A single pro-Trump demonstrator wearing a sandwich board promoting a shooting range and a “Make America Great Again” hat meandered through the crowd, periodically bellowing out support for Trump. The anti-Trump protesters tried chanting over him at times and held signs in front of him at one point, but he was largely left alone.
On a raised spot on the side of the steps that glide up into the Plaza I squeezed in among a group of early teens from Tennessee. Excited at having already seen Lady Gaga and, they thought, DJ from Full House on their maiden voyage to New York City they were eager to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump. They liked New York, they said, but could do without the rudeness. With a deep drawl one girl noted that New Yorkers “don’t say yes ma’am and no ma’am” and instead people “say F you to you”, reporting on instances of that occurring. An Ohio teen also on our elevated observation post seemed quite familiar with Trump via Celebrity Apprentice. Appearing reasonably familiar with the presidential race she nonetheless did not know that her state’s governor (John Kasich) is also in the race.
The crowd, already restless, began dispersing once word spread that Trump was inside. By the time he left via a side exit more than an hour later few people remained and his departure was barely noticed.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hosted a rally on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to denounce many of Donald Trump’s statements, especially his call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States. Joined by Public Advocate Tish James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, NY State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Liz Krueger and many members of the City Council, Mark-Viverito strongly condemned Trump.
Tonight Mayor Bill de Blasio joined a menorah relighting in Manhattan’s Carl Schurz Park. The menorah, initially lit last night for the first night of Hanukkah, was vandalized overnight. Mayor de Blasio joined rabbis from Chabad-Lubavitch of the Upper East Side and Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Council Member Ben Kallos, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and a crowd of about 200 people in a non-traditional relighting ceremony, intended as a public display of defiance to the vandalism. The park is adjacent to the Mayor’s official residence, with the menorah about two blocks from his door.
After brief remarks from the hosts and Mayor de Blasio, the candles were lit. The evening concluded with the mayor joining other men (but no women) in a dance: