Pete Couladis, Athens County Republican Party Chairman, said he's known John Kasich for more than 40 years, having met him when Kasich started his political career in the state legislature as a senator. Kasich's broad experience as a governor and congressman make him a viable presidential candidate for the 2016 general election, according to Couladis, but it appears a large majority of Athens County residents do not agree. 

With news of Gov. John Kasich's official announcement of his presidential bid, making him the 16th Republican of note to join the race, comments immediately flooded The Messenger's social media accounts with a strong negative reaction and sparse support. 

Malinda Rock Mowry commented, "I voted against him twice. However, I think that he is a more moderate choice that could actually earn votes from Republicans and even some Democrats who appreciate his fiscal record if they look past all of the cuts to education that he made in the process. He doesn't have enough name recognition at this time, though." 

Very little commenters appeared to support Kasich, and those who did only backed him in his current role as governor. None of the comments openly showed excitement or enthusiasm for him as a contender for the next commander-in-chief.

Les Henry commented, "I like Kasich, I would vote for him, but he is not my first choice." 

Lenny Eliason, treasurer of the Athens County Democratic Party, expected Kasich to run, and said it's "hard to tell" how well he'll do with 15 other Republicans vying for the nomination. 

However, he also added, "(Kasich) could be perceived as a moderate Republican," and as for his prospects in the race for the White House, he has a "good chance of going somewhere," he said. 

Couladis said Kasich's late entry into the race could be detrimental, but praised the "broad experience" he brings to the playing field, having present experience as Ohio's governor, along with his service in Congress contributing to a balanced budget in the 1990s under President Clinton's tenure in the executive office. 

When asked how far Kasich could go in the race, Couladis said a lot will depend on how the New Hampshire Republican primary turns out. That contest is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 9, 2016. 

"Candidates will start filtering out by then. They won't have the money to continue, or they'll use up their resources, and voters will decide who's the strongest at that point," he said. 

SGUINN@ATHENSMESSENGER.COM; TWITTER @SARAHGMESSENGER

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