Ohio Governor enters White House race

  • 22/07/2015
John Kasich (Reuters)
John Kasich (Reuters)

The field of Republican presidential hopefuls has hit a record 16 with Ohio Governor John Kasich jumping into the race for the White House.

Kasich, a former member of Congress, vowed to "restore" the United States at his announcement speech in Columbus, Ohio.

"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 told a cheering crowd.

"I have the experience and the testing... and I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States."

Kasich was a member of Congress from 1983 to 2000, and made a brief foray in the Republican presidential primaries in 2000 although he is not well known at the national level.

He is seeking support from voters outside the traditional Republican base: blue collar workers, the unemployed or underemployed and minorities.

He vowed to create opportunities for the vulnerable, leveraging a message of upward mobility.

"There are a lot of people in America today who are not sure that that American dream is possible, that that American dream is alive," he said.

"How about if you're a member of the minority community, an African American? You wonder, 'the system I think sometimes doesn't just work for me, but sometimes I feel like that system works against me.'"

Like rival Jeb Bush in Florida, Kasich is expected to present his state as a showcase for his brand of tax-cutting, deficit-slashing fiscal conservatism.

He also referred often to the Bible in his speech, calling for "empathy" and "compassion" for the poor and the struggling.

The list of aspirants for the Republican nomination includes at least four senators, four governors, four former governors, an ex-senator, a former CEO, a retired neurosurgeon and billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump, who has taken the lead in the polls.