Last night’s debate was the first of many for GOP Presidential hopefuls between now and the convention next June. It was also the first time that Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich had a national platform to pitch his candidacy to Republican voters. Overall, Governor Kasich was well received by both national and local pundits, as well as on social media. Gov. Kasich, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (participated in the 5PM “consolation” debate) were noted by many as last night’s big winners. Two participants in yesterday’s forums, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush, participated in the Ohio Chamber’s Chamber Day as keynote speakers in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
Gov. Kasich had the benefit of an Ohio crowd that has been a witness to his executive stewardship over the past 5 years during the debate. In addition to his story of Ohio’s comeback under his watch, Gov. Kasich spoke of his experience in Washington. Presiding over the last balanced federal budget and sitting on the House Armed Services Committee are two items that Gov. Kasich believes make him uniquely qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. Gov. Kasich received a lot of buzz on social media. Many debate viewers tweeted out their new found support for Gov. Kasich, who entered the debate in 10th place and with a lot less national name recognition compared to the other candidates.
The GOP has 10 scheduled debates remaining. It will be of note to see how Gov. Kasich’s performance last night will convey to polling numbers and building momentum. The next scheduled GOP debate will occur on September 16th in California. The first debate for the Democrats is October 13th in Nevada.