Independent’s Day? In an election year teeming with you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up moments, here’s another. Mitt Romney and other Republicans worried about Donald Trump, their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, are hard at work trying to recruit an independent candidate, the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costs reported over the weekend.
Romney, according to the newspaper, has reached out to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who suspended his GOP campaign this month. Yes, the same Kasich whom Romney campaigned for in Ohio’s March primary only to get behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz after Kasich beat Trump here.
The response from Team Kasich? An unequivocal no. “The governor is not entertaining nor will he run as an independent,” spokesman Chris Schrimpf told the Post.
And chief strategist John Weaver added a shot at Romney and the anti-Trump forces who always seemed reluctant to rally around Kasich: “They had plenty of time and opportunity to influence the nomination battle in a constructive way, and they didn’t for whatever reason.”
Countdown to Cleveland: 63 days until the Republican National Convention. Trump dispatched top adviser Paul Manafort to the city late last week for some planning and scouting.
On Friday, “before entering the RNC’s Playhouse Square headquarters, Manafort told reporters that Trump is ‘excited for Cleveland. He’s excited about Ohio. And we look forward to Ohio putting us over in November,'” cleveland.com’s Andrew J. Tobias reports.
A contentious, if not contested, convention? “Over the course of four days … Trump will have to navigate potential hazards, like hostile delegates suspicious of his conservatism and determined to thwart his candidacy,” the New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters writes.
“Complicating matters further, many of those delegates possess an intricate knowledge of the parliamentary process that establishes the convention’s rules and program. Any of them looking to make trouble certainly could try. Recent political conventions have grown so scripted and choreographed that moments of true spontaneity are rare. This year, when history seems to be providing little guiding precedent, could be the one that shatters the calm.”
Isn’t this one of those good problems? “Locking up virtually the entire Democratic party establishment has been a boon for Hillary Clinton in her fight against Bernie Sanders. But as she closes in on the primary finish line, she’s grappling with one big downside,” Politico’s Annie Karni reports. “It’s what one top aide referred to as ‘Delegate Hell.’
“Thousands of high-powered Clinton loyalists across the country who have worked hard for the Democratic front-runner now expect to be chosen as ‘at large’ delegates or PLEOs (party leaders and elected officials). And there aren’t enough available slots to accommodate them all. …
“In Ohio, according to one Clinton ally, ‘there is some vigorous lobbying going on for the few slots that are available,’ including would-be delegates who are calling and emailing state party leaders to plead their case. There are only 11 slots for party leaders and elected officials in Ohio, and 18 slots for at-large delegates, which typically go to big donors or party activists.”
Sherrod stirs veepstakes pot: Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio shows up on just about every short list of vice presidential prospects for Clinton. The Cleveland Democrat has tried to downplay the speculation, but Jake Tapper pressed him Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“My priorities are to continue to fight for manufacturing in my state and for jobs and health care and deal with lead issues in my beloved city of Cleveland, where I live, and every other city in the industrial Midwest,” Brown replied. “I will put real effort into helping elect Hillary Clinton. I – as I said, I love this job, and that’s – I’m just not going to give you a different answer.”
As Tapper noted, it wasn’t quite a Shermanesque denial.
Obama decree quickly catches John Becker’s attention: The conservative state representative from southwest Ohio intends to challenge President Barack Obama’s new directive that public schools allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify. Becker, writes The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell, “wants to add rules covering schools to his upcoming bill about bathrooms and transgender people because the federal government is ‘forcing the issue.’ He’s just not sure what he wants those rules to be yet.”
Money talks; politicians don’t: The Ohio Media project – a collaboration involving the Akron Beacon Journal, Toledo Blade and other in-state news organizations asked Senate and House candidates: “Considering the historically high levels of angst among Americans, what solutions can you offer to ameliorate their concerns that money has corrupted politics and elections? And what specifically can you do as a candidate or elected official to address this concern?”
Every Senate candidate replied, the Beacon Journal’s Doug Livingston reports. “But most running for the U.S. House, especially incumbents, ignored the question. Only four of the 15 House incumbents (three of them sitting Democrats) responded.” The lone Republican congressman to respond? Rep. Steve Chabot of the Cincinnati area.