HENNIKER, N.H. — Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday that he doesn’t know if he will run for president again but that in the meantime he’s “trying to be a voice that brings about stability and objectivity in our country.”
Kasich spoke at New England College in New Hampshire, the state where a second-place finish in the 2016 presidential primaries gave him a boost in national popularity. The former Republican candidate said any decision on mounting another White House bid would come at least nine months from now, after he finishes his second term as Ohio governor.
However, the term-limited official said earlier Tuesday that “all my options are on the table.”
When asked about gun violence and school safety, Kasich praised the push for stricter gun laws by students who survived February’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“Have you seen them on television the last couple of weeks? Have you ever seen more articulate young people?” Kasich said. “And shame on the adults who are attacking them. They’re incredible people. And they give us hope.”
Last month, Kasich introduced a six-point plan in Ohio to reduce gun violence, including tighter background checks for gun buyers.
“I can tell you in my state, I’m not going quietly on this,” Kasich told the 150 people in the audience. But he added, “We don’t want to denigrate people who believe so firmly in the Second Amendment.”
The event at New England College, the President’s Speaker Series, came at the end of a full day of media interviews and meetings with supporters and advisers from Kasich’s 2016 campaign in New Hampshire.
The governor also met with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu at the beginning of the day. Two months after he ended his presidential bid, Kasich returned to New Hampshire to endorse Sununu during the state’s 2016 GOP gubernatorial primary.
Kasich praised Sununu, saying “I met with him today and I have to tell you I was really impressed.”
Kasich wasn’t the only potential 2020 presidential contender in the Granite State on Tuesday. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate — spoke earlier at Politics and Eggs at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. The speakers’ series is a must stop for White House hopefuls.
O’Malley urged Democrats to end their pity party over losing the presidency and face the future. He said he thinks the party has a chance to win majorities in Congress in November’s midterm elections if it focuses on restoring trust in democracy and preparing children to succeed in a changing economy.