John Kasich Lands Big Help in New Hampshire

Image: U.S. Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor Kasich holds a campaign town hall meeting in Peterborough
U.S. Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich holds a campaign town hall meeting in Peterborough, New Hampshire, August 11, 2015. REUTERS/Brian SnyderBRIAN SNYDER / Reuters

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By Kailani Koenig

MANCHESTER -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich received a big boost in the early primary state of New Hampshire Tuesday in the form of an endorsement from one of the state’s leading Republican figures.

Tom Rath, who has advised a long line of GOP presidential candidates including Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, will serve as Kasich’s co-chairman in the state, the campaign announced. Rath will join Kasich to campaign in New Hampshire Wednesday.

Rath’s support is significant – he is the former attorney general of New Hampshire and a fixture in the state's political world. "It's his character. His ability to work across the aisle and bring people together. We need to win the White House and he has a compelling electoral college path," Rath said of his decision to support Kasich. "He knows the job and has had success in Congress and as as governor."

Rath isn’t the only big-name Republican in the state who is backing Kasich. Former Sen. John Sununu of the famous New Hampshire political family is already serving as the New Hampshire campaign chair. Former Gov. John Sununu, George H.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff, said on Andrea Mitchell Reports that he isn’t planning on making an endorsement.

“We’re thrilled to have Tom join our team,” said Senator John Sununu, Kasich’s New Hampshire campaign chair. “His expertise nationally and in New Hampshire will help our campaign build on the momentum we’ve established in New Hampshire and after the first debate. It’s an honor to be working with Tom on behalf of Governor Kasich. He and other outstanding leaders will help guide us in the months ahead in New Hampshire and nationally.”

Kasich appears to have gotten some traction in the state since he joined the race in July. He jumped to 3rd place – just one point behind Jeb Bush – in a new poll by Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald released Tuesday. Donald Trump is leading with 18 percent, Bush with 13 percent, and Kasich at 12 percent.