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US: Republican line-up for 2016 is complete, Kasich in as No 16

world Updated: Jul 22, 2015 00:50 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
US presidential elections

Ohio governor John Kasich announces his candidacy at the Ohio State University on July 21, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Ohio state governor John Kasich on Tuesday became the 16th Republican in the 2016 race for the White House, joining the largest, most crowded field in recent memory.

“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,” he said annoying his run.

“I have the skills, and I have the experience. I have the experience and the testing - the testing that prepares you for the most important job in the world.”

He is a two-term governor and nine-term member of the House of Representative who believes in a combination of fiscal conservatism but compassionate social welfare.

There are as of now, therefore, 16 Republicans in the race, and five Democrats with Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner. Only vice-president Joe Biden remains to decide, either way.

Kasich enters the field at around the bottom of the totem pole of polls, averaging 1.5% according to aggregated average of all current polls by Real Clear Politics.

That number will determine who gets to share the stage at the first nationally televised debate of Republican candidates in Cleveland on August 6, just two weeks away.

Only the top 10 candidates will make it, broadcaster of that debate Fox news has announced, the rest will figure on other off-prime time panels and shows.

Donald Trump, the showy real estate tycoon and TV personality, currently leads the Republican field in polls with his edgy rhetoric and attention-grabbing outbursts.

His opening comment that all illegal immigrants are drug pushers and rapists endeared him to a wing of the Republican party that has long held an extreme position on the issue.

But the party established cringed when Trump — who is also called The Donald — questioned Senator John McCain’s record as a war hero. And his numbers plunged.

Experts expect his campaign to implode.

Kasich, on the other hand, is a candidate many in the party were waiting impatiently to announce for his blue-collar appeal, long experience and his brand of compassionate conservatism.