Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who's spent the year testing his scrappy political style and pragmatic policy positions around the country—as well as awaiting a sign from above—plans to formally enter the 2016 presidential race on July 21. The two-term governor, who leads one of the nation's premier swing states, is expected to formally join the crowded Republican primary field at an announcement set for Ohio State University, according to senior advisers. Kasich, 63, would join a GOP field that already includes more than a dozen high-profile candidates. He isn't as well-known as some of his likely Republican competitors, but he has been involved in national politics for more than three decades. He previously served in Congress for 18 years.
No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio, and in 2016 the state holds extra weight as Cleveland plays host to the Republican National Convention. It would be Kasich's second bid for the nation's top job. He briefly sought the 2000 nomination before George W. Bush emerged as Republican favorite. It's unclear if Kasich's late entry into the 2016 contest would complicate his participation in the first Republican debate in August. Since January, Kasich, considered more moderate than some of his Republican rivals, has been traveling the country, including stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, New York, and Michigan. He's known for going off script and for pulling no punches about political positions he sees as practical, though they might anger fellow Republicans.