GOP hopeful Kasich plans visit to Sterling Heights

The Detroit News

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is returning to Michigan Monday for a business incubator tour in Macomb County, according to his campaign, as well as a fundraiser in downtown Detroit.

This will be the Republican presidential hopeful’s sixth campaign visit to Michigan this year as he seeks to take advantage of his regional proximity. His last trip to the state was an Oct. 12 tour of an auto parts factory in Grand Rapids.

Kasich is a former U.S House Budget Committee chairman who has been campaigning as a pragmatic centrist in a the 14-candidate field of conservative Republicans. He was elected governor of Ohio in 2010 and re-elected last year.

Kasich is scheduled to make a Monday afternoon tour of the Velocity Collaboration Center, a part of the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator in Sterling Heights that aids high-technology firms.

In addition, PVS Chemicals executive David Nicholson is organizing a $2,700-a-plate private dinner and reception with Kasich at One Campus Martius — commonly known as the Compuware building.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and members of the wealthy Nicholson and Cotton families are among a group of 15 Kasich donors listed as hosts for the event. The Nicholsons own PVS Chemicals in Detroit. The Cottons own Meridian Health and co-own the Compuware building with billionaire Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert, who has been supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the GOP presidential nomination.

According to the Kasich fundraiser invitation, hosts are expected to raise a minimum of $10,000 in bundled contributions for the presidential campaign.

The Ohio governor’s polling numbers continue to lag behind political newcomers Donald Trump and Detroit native Ben Carson as well as Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in New Hampshire, a key early voting state in the GOP nomination schedule that is more hospitable to Kasich’s policies, according to an average of recent polls in the Granite State.

Kasich is sixth behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in fourth and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who also is targeting Michigan’s March 8 primary.