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Kasich, Back In Columbus, Jokes With The Press, Does Some State Business

Karen Kasler/Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was in a jovial mood when he met with reporters Thursday at the Statehouse, as he took a break from the presidential campaign trail to conduct some Ohio business.

One of Kasich’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, Donald Trump,  put national Republican party bosses’ minds at ease Thursday when he signed a pledge saying he wouldn’t run as a third party candidate if he’s not the nominee.

When asked whether he’d follow Trump’s lead, Kasich cracked a joke with reporters.

“Well, I have to figure out whether I’m going to sign,” Kasich said, getting a laugh from the journalists.  “No, I already told them that I would. I already told them that I would. You know one of the things that I’ve learned out there is if I don’t complete my sentences or make a little bit of a joke then I have to spend a few hours trying to clean up. You know the way that goes.”

Kasich, who is running second to Trump in recent New Hampshire polls, said he hopes to win the Granite State, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary. If he doesn’t, he joked  he will cry a bit and return to his job as Governor.

On a more serious note, the governor said he is not happy  with Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly who fought him on the state’s takeover of the Youngstown City School District.

Kasich was answering a question posed by a reporter about whether more needs to be done to ensure quality operation the state’s charter school system when the Governor turned his attention to the state’s recent takeover of the Youngstown City Schools.

“Those schools over there have failed for nine straight years,” Kasich said, referring to Youngstown. “Frankly, I am a little disappointed with some of my Democrat colleagues who did not support the rescuing of the Youngstown Schools.”  

A couple of Democratic lawmakers stood at Kasich’s side when he made that comment but they did not interrupt him. But a group of opponents of the plan, including the teachers’ union, have filed a lawsuit to try to stop the takeover.