It could have been embarrassing: The sitting governor of Ohio left off the primetime Fox News debate stage in his home state because of low poll numbers.
But in the two weeks since he launched his presidential campaign, John Kasich has bypassed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans who have been in the race longer.
Last week, the main super-PAC backing Kasich’s candidacy announced it raised more than $11 million, tapping into a surprisingly deep well of influential Ohioans for a haul that puts him squarely in the middle of a well-funded pack of GOP candidates.
“Someone in that campaign knows what they’re doing,” said Tom Rath, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire, where Kasich has leaped into third place, according to one recent poll.