COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasich is set to deliver the annual State of the State address on Wednesday at the Peoples Bank Theatre in historic Marietta in southeast Ohio. Here are some things to know as Kasich, who’s also a Republican presidential candidate, returns to the swing state to deliver the speech:
COUNTY’S CLOSE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION VOTE
Kasich and billionaire businessman Donald Trump nearly split the Republican presidential primary vote in Washington County, home of Marietta, according to unofficial election results.
Trump won the county’s at-large presidential delegate vote by 25 votes, while Kasich won the district delegate vote by 44 votes. Those numbers likely will change once provisional and final absentee ballots are included in the final results. The two vote counts are a carry-over from a time when the state’s GOP vote was divided proportionally. The Ohio Republican Party has said only the at-large vote would be used to determine the results, and Kasich won the state.
During his first bid for Ohio governor in 2010, Kasich lost the county to then Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Kasich won it when he was re-elected in 2014.
ROAD-TRIP TREND CONTINUES
The governor’s State of the State address is being held outside the Statehouse in Columbus for the fifth consecutive year. Other locations have included Steubenville, Lima, Medina and Wilmington. The speech is delivered to a joint legislative session of both the House and Senate, with Supreme Court justices, Cabinet officials and statewide officeholders often in attendance. Their presence has been less uniform since Kasich has taken the address on the road.
Prior to 2012, the Ohio General Assembly last convened a joint session outside Columbus in 2003, when lawmakers traveled to the first state capital, Chillicothe, to celebrate the state’s bicentennial. The time before that was in the 1950s.
KASICH’S REASONING FOR MARIETTA
Kasich told The Marietta Times that the city was “iconic” and in a part of the state where he’d yet to give the address. “It’s just an awesome and unique place in Ohio history and in American history,” Kasich said. “I’m just happy to do it because I also happen to really like Marietta.”
Audio of the February interview with the newspaper was provided by the governor’s office.
The locale gives Kasich an opportunity for some free publicity in nearby West Virginia media markets, where primary voters have yet to have their say.
Choosing such an historic location also gives a nod, if unspoken, to Ohio’s pivotal role in American politics. No Republican has ever made it to the White House without winning Ohio and it is home to eight former presidents. Seven were born here and another was living here when elected. Warren G. Harding was the last Ohio president.
Located where the Muskingum and Ohio rivers meet, Marietta was the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory.
The governor’s office said in announcing the location that it’s “only fitting that Ohio’s first city — and the front door to our nation’s new frontier” play host to the annual State of the State address. The speech comes a day before an expedition led by Gen. Rufus Putnam established the settlement in 1788.
Kasich will speak at the 657-seat Peoples Bank Theatre, formerly the Hippodrome. The building has been a vaudeville house, a movie house and a theater stage. Numerous entertainers who have performed there, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Jimmy Stewart.
Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.