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Trump tweet denounces Kasich, who counters with Putin

By Randy Ludlow • Aug 13, 2018 at 3:00 PM

President Donald Trump went after a long-time foe — Ohio Gov. John Kasich — in a tweet Monday morning.

Open Twitter warfare is on, as Kasich responded with a tweet featuring a GIF of a laughing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Following a recent series of TV news appearances featuring Kasich's take on the apparent narrow win by Republican Troy Balderson in the 12th Congressional District, Trump pounced. The president tweeted, "The very unpopular Governor of Ohio (and failed presidential candidate) @JohnKasich hurt Troy Balderson's recent win by tamping down enthusiasm for an otherwise great candidate. Even Kasich's Lt. Governor lost Gov. race because of his unpopularity. Credit to Troy on the BIG WIN!"

Kasich has said Balderson's less-than-1-percent advantage over Democrat Danny O'Connor was a reflection on Trump's "chaos" disenchanting Republican voters, particularly moderate suburban women in last Tuesday's special election. Kasich responded to Trump's tweet with just a GIF of Russian President Vladimir Putin laughing.

Kasich belatedly endorsed Balderson and cut a TV commercial late for the state senator from Zanesville. Many analysts credit the governor's support in a district inhabited by many moderate Republicans as key, although Trump also was given kudos for generating greater GOP interest with his personal appearance three days before the vote.

Recent polling by Quinnipiac University placed Kasich's job approval rating at 52 percent, with 36 percent disapproving. He was more popular with Democrats (75 percent to 33 percent) than Republicans (46 percent to 44 percent).

Trump's approval rating in a national Quinnipiac poll around the same time was 38 percent, with 58 percent disapproval.

Trump's tweet also referenced Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a Trump fan who lost badly to Attorney General Mike DeWine in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

She attempted to distance herself from Kasich, repudiating some of his policies and even saying she had gone months without talking to him. Kasich, to her chagrin, had endorsed her over DeWine.

Michael Duchesne, Taylor's campaign spokesman, said Monday that her association with Kasich hurt her among GOP voters, but it was not the deciding factor.

"There were absolutely some 'ride or die' Trump voters in Ohio upset with Gov. Kasich who were unable to separate Lt. Gov. Taylor from her two-time running mate, despite their obvious policy differences. That being said, there are any number of factors during a campaign that contribute to the outcome on election day and I don't think this was the deciding one." Taylor is excited about Trump's agenda and the direction the economy is heading, Duchesne said.

Comment was being sought from Kasich's political handlers as the lame-duck governor continues to flirt with a 2020 bid for the presidency, that presumably would include taking on Trump.

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©2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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