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Kasich’s campaign strong at Miami, in his home state

By Mary Schrott, Senior Staff Writer

Location is an influential factor shaping student support for candidates in this year's presidential election. On March 15, Ohio holds its primary election, and a familiar name is predicted to be on the ballot - Gov. John Kasich.

After coming in second place in New Hampshire, the first primary election of the season, Kasich's conservative campaign continues to try and rally.

With the largest chapter of College Republicans in the state, many Miami students support and connect with the local candidate.

First-year James Oaks returned to campus last week after volunteering in New Hampshire with Kasich's Political Action Committee during the primary.

"New Hampshire was a huge, huge day," Oaks said. "You could feel that in the room. When [Kasich] gave his speech at the end of the day, it really reenergized everybody."

Oaks' recent trip to New Hampshire was his second visit to the state. He first went during the last week of winter term to volunteer for Kasich through grassroots campaigning.

These trips were a result of networking during the first Republican Primary debate in August 2015, held in Cleveland, where Oaks volunteered with Fox News and the Republican National Committee.

Oaks - an Ohioan and Miamian - supports Kasich and says there are many other students on campus who share his support. After his first trip to New Hampshire, Oaks contacted Kasich's official campaign callers asking to help.

Since then, he has started a phone bank at Miami for Kasich supporters to help. Oaks often invites other College Republicans and peers to make calls with him. However, he insists the conservative club does not endorse any candidate.

"It's hard to get people at our age interested [in the election]," Oaks said. "But it's an incredibly important event and huge part of history."

Oaks believes many people still don't know Kasich's message, yet when they hear him speak, "that's enough" to get their vote.

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"When it comes down to experience and the way he leads, he is the man for the job," Oaks said. "He takes the time to interact with voters the way others don't."

Senior Eric Niehaus interned with Kasich's office and shares a hometown - Westerville, Ohio - with the governor. Niehaus says he respects Kasich for the man he is.

"Throughout the office, everyone had the utmost respect for his character," Niehaus said. "He is so humble and a willing servant leader."

Junior Amy Shomo, who is also a resident of Westerville, has interacted with Kasich's wife and daughters at The Lakes Golf and Country Club where she used to work.

"It's really exciting," Shomo said. "I've never known of a presidential hopeful who has lived so close to my home. No one who is not from Columbus knows where Westerville is. It's just this little town in the middle of Ohio."

Kasich is a more familiar candidate to Shomo because of their shared hometown, but she says this has no effect on her vote.

Regardless, Shomo believes Kasich has shown passion and that he cares about the greater good during his time as governor.

"That's how it should be," Shomo said.

Similarly, Niehaus is uncertain of the future for Kasich and his presidential run. He is skeptical whether or not he has the charisma and showmanship for the job.

"Nonetheless, I think he would represent not just a great president but a great leader," Niehaus said.