Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper have appeared side by side in several instances this summer in which they have focused on influencing the national healthcare debate.
Now, there are rumours that Kasich, a Republican, and Hickenlooper, a Democrat, could embark on a joint independent presidential bid in 2020, Axios reported Friday.
The cross-party unity ticket would feature Kasich at the top, with Hickenlooper as his running mate, the publication reported.
In the coming months, Axios reports that the duo plans to extend the platform they have built up on healthcare and expand to immigration and job creation. They’re also discussing with major media outlets the possibility of a podcast or cable news show, Axios said.
John Weaver, a top Kasich adviser who served as chief strategist for the Ohio governor’s 2016 Republican presidential campaign, told Business Insider to expect to see a lot more of the pair in the coming months.
“They work very well together and will continue to lead on healthcare, immigration and probably other key issues,” Weaver told Business Insider in an email, adding a smiley-faced emoticon.
Kasich and Hickenlooper made their first major appearance together at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in late June to criticise Republican healthcare legislation that was being debated in the Senate. They called on both parties to come together and form a better plan while seeking more stakeholder input, such as that of US governors.
The pair also signed onto multiple letters and statements rejecting different iterations of the GOP-led healthcare legislation, leading a team of bipartisan governors who were critical of the Republican healthcare plan and process before it fell apart late last month.
On Tuesday, Kasich and Hickenlooper appeared together on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to urge for bipartisan fixes to the Affordable Care Act, the law better known as Obamacare. In another joint interview this month, the pair said they are “close” to presenting their own plan to help stabilise the nation’s health insurance markets.
“”We’re getting very close,” Kasich said. “I just talked to my guys today, men and women who are working on this with [Hickenlooper’s] people, and we think we’ll have some specifics here, I actually think we could have it within a week.”
Hickenlooper has tempered talk of a possible presidential ticket with Kasich, though he did say “you never know” when asked during a Politico Playbook Exchange event earlier this month.
Days later, he said it was “not in the cards.”
“We’re a two-party system, and that kind of a campaign generally distracts,” he told a local Denver reporter. “I mean, it’s symbolic, and I can understand the point of that, but I don’t think it’s in the cards. It’s fun to talk about but it’s not in the cards.”
Standing alongside Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, he joked that the DNC leader would “kill me if I did something like that,” which elicited laughs from both men.
Kasich, who has not been shy about opposing Trump at times during his young presidency, has not ruled out a 2020 bid, hinting to reporters that he may again try to seek the presidency either as part of an independent presidential bid or as a Republican primary challenge to the sitting president.
A Hickenlooper representative did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider. A representative for Trump’s 2020 reelection effort also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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