According to a new report, Ohio Governor John Kasich's (R) campaign team is now considering a possible 2020 presidential run, including a possible primary challenge to President Trump.

Nine Republicans closely involved with Kasich's political operations told Politico that Kasich's team is actively weighing the idea of a Republican primary challenge to President Trump to an independent presidential campaign.

Kasich has planned to attend events across the country in the next few months, including a trip to New Hampshire in April, where the first presidential primaries are held. These events are likely to place him in direct contact with even more influential activists and thinks that he might need as allies. This also includes hearing from long-time advisors who want him to challenge the president.

The Republican governor and his advisors have also reportedly discussed whether he should directly challenge Trump or wait for an “opening” in the race.

While his advisors believe that one of two things are likely to eventually occur: either Trump does not run again or the president becomes so politically dissatisfying that the political climate shifts in Kasich's favor. But these considerations are one reason Kasich has yet to decide on whether to pursue an independent bid or a primary challenge.

“He’s actually been pretty straightforward about it: he would like to run again if he sees an opening,” said Charlie Black, an advisor for Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign. “And if Trump runs again, there’s no opening. But if Trump doesn’t run, there is one.”

According to Politico, Kasich is targeting younger audiences, emphasizing bipartisanship.

“There is, I think, among this electorate, much less party discipline, and much more willingness to accept something out of the usual. And ’18 is going to make that even worse. So is there an opening? Yes, but you have to be smart about it,” claimed Tom Rath, the former New Hampshire attorney general.

All of this is a notable departure from Kasich's previous sentiment. A few months ago, he denied interested in the White House, even as he went on a book tour.

Kasich's top political adviser, John Weaver, told Politico “there’s been no decision to run, but no decision not to run.”

Interestingly, last month, Kasich said he had not ruled out a potential 2020 presidential run. “I honestly don't know what my future is,” he said on CNN. “As to whether I would do something like that again? If I felt my country called me and it was practical, I'd have to very seriously think about it.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political entities have moved forward with the assumption that Kasich will be running. The DNC has initiated an active opposition research project that is tracking him. In Ohio, Republicans have distanced themselves from him so they would not be seen fraternizing with a critic of trump.

 

H/T: The Hill