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Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will visit Utah on Wednesday to attend a luncheon fundraiser and tour the LDS Church's welfare operation.
Kasich will be joined on the tour of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Welfare Square by Gov. Gary Herbert, who will attend as a courtesy and has not yet endorsed anyone in the Republican field.
Before the tour, Kasich will attend a fundraiser at the downtown home of a supporter and then meet privately with leaders of the LDS Church, said campaign spokesman Rob Nichols.
State Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber, who is the state director for the Kasich campaign and hosted the governor in January for a discussion of a state resolution supporting a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, said he believes Kasich offers a good opportunity for Republicans to regain control of the White House.
"He is a reasonable Republican, which I think many voters are looking for as they look to the general election. He is a very popular governor of probably the most crucial state in the electoral college map," Powell said. "For me, it's an easy choice with the combination of his experience, the fact he has good strong, mainstream Republican politics and the fact that he can carry Ohio for the Republicans. I just really would like a lot more people to take a very hard look at him."
The visit to Utah will come on the heels of the final Republican presidential debate of 2015 Tuesday night. The Ohio governor is polling in the middle of a crowded Republican field, registering in the low single digits in most polls and well behind the front-runner, Donald Trump.
The tour of the church's welfare operation is significant, because Kasich has taken heat in the past for being outspoken about the need to help the less fortunate and those who have fallen on hard times.
However, advocacy for the working class and appeal to the party's moderates was roundly panned by pundits and drew comparisons between Kasich's bid and the short-lived run by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in 2012. Both of those campaigns had former John McCain consultant John Weaver deeply involved.
Kasich was last in Utah during the summer, speaking at Mitt Romney's E2 Summit, which gathered several of the Republican contenders for a forum hosted by the 2012 GOP presidential nominee at Deer Valley.