Who’s running the state while Kasich runs for president

John Kasich announces run for president. (WDTN Photo)
(WDTN Photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Political experts say governors make attractive presidential candidates because they have experience leading.

So, 2 NEWS Investigates is digging deeper now that Ohio’s governor is running.  We went to the experts to find out how governors go about running their state while running for president.

Governor Kasich’s announcement makes him the fourth sitting governor now running for the White House.  Being a candidate is a full time job that requires a lot of travel.

Natalie Tendall: How do they run their state while running for President?

Mark Caleb Smith: “Generally, the governor is going to delegate most of the things they do anyway, so most of their day to day work is overseeing the people who carry out functions.”

Director of Political Studies at Cedarville University, Dr. Mark Caleb Smith doesn’t think the traveling will be too much of an issue if Kasich makes sure he has his phone with him at all times, but Smith says there is always one potential problem.

“Probably the biggest unwritten rule is that your opposing party will look down on you if you are out of state and something dramatic happens,” said Smith.

Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft says traveling is nothing new for governors.

He says instead of going from town to town, he will now be going from state to state. He says the biggest thing Kasich needs is a good staff.

“Staff is very important and the staff would know hopefully, when to alert the governor to an issue that would require his decision,” said Taft.

2 NEWS Investigates found there is no rule in place that would require the governor to spend a certain amount of time in the state, but there are federal campaign rules in place about spending the state’s money on a run for president.

“The governor would have to have two separate staffs, one campaign staff and one staff as his actual job as governor. Then he has two separate piles of money,” said Smith.

That doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to.  “The stickier issue of course are things like how do you pay for it, who pays for it, security and those sorts of things,” said Smith.

Governor Kasich uses The Ohio State Highway Patrol for security.  Ohio tax dollars pay their salary.

The issue is who pays for that security and their hotels while Kasich is campaigning out of the state.

A state senator is even getting involved by drafting a bill that would make sure taxpayers are not footing the security travel bills.

While Smith says the auditor, treasurer and Federal Election Commission all make sure state dollars are not being spent on campaigns, Kasich will still have to be careful.

“I’m sure at some level, a sitting politician has to feel like they are cheating the voters when they are running for office, another office. I’m sure they feel divided,” said Smith.

Former Governor Taft says while it may be more difficult to run as a governor, he says it worked before.

“It’s a balance and we will see how it works, but governors travel a lot and there are procedures in place for staff to notify the governor whenever the governor is needed, so I’m confident governors would be able to do it.”

Former Governor Taft says now is a pretty easy time for Governor Kasich to join the race because the legislature is not in session. He says Kasich will have more on his plate around the primaries next spring because he will also be responsible for signing bills.

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