Kasich unsure how much he'll back GOP nominee for Ohio governor

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Fresh off a victory in Ohio's primary election, the Democratic nominee for the state's top office is reaching out to supporters of outgoing Republican Gov. John Kasich, whose policies have alienated many GOP supporters in recent years.

Democrat Richard Cordray, who led the federal consumer protection bureau under President Barack Obama, pledged in a video his campaign released Friday that he'll maintain Kasich's expansion of Medicaid and the state's privatized economic development office, which critics say lacks accountability.

"Gov. Kasich recently said he's worried about two issues: Medicaid expansion and JobsOhio. So this message is for Ohioans who agree with Gov. Kasich — I am your candidate," Cordray said.

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Cordray said he believes the JobsOhio office can play a role in workforce development. "I will work to make sure it fulfills its mission and that it is transparent and effective," he said.

While Kasich isn't about to back Cordray as his replacement, it remains unclear when or if the term-limited governor will campaign for Republican Mike DeWine in the November election.

Kasich on Friday said he'll definitely vote for DeWine, but he was less clear about how much support he'll give the Ohio attorney general's bid for governor.

"The question is how aggressively do I campaign?" Kasich said at a Michigan Press Association event in East Lansing, Michigan. "And I've laid out a couple things that are important to me."

He said that he and DeWine must come to an agreement on the future of the governor's Medicaid expansion and his job-creation program, JobsOhio — a compromise he said will happen "as soon as we sit down and talk."

DeWine's campaign has said it would welcome Kasich's endorsement. But he also has said that the plan championed by Kasich to expand the Medicaid government insurance program to cover 700,000 people in Ohio isn't sustainable financially.

He said he wants the federal government to give Ohio more flexibility to craft its own plan.

Many Republicans remain angry that Kasich went against his own party by opting to increase Medicaid in Ohio under Obama's health care overhaul. Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, during her failed bid for governor, promised to undo the expansion.

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Associated Press reporter Alice Yin in East Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this story.

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