John Kasich Speech
John Kasich, Republican US presidential candidate and Ohio governor. REUTERS/Brian Snyder


Wall Street may be warming up to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Steve Schwarzman, the private-equity titan and Blackstone Group cofounder, hosted a meet-and-greet for the Republican presidential candidate in New York Tuesday, when dozens of CEOs pressed flesh with the man making a name for himself in a crowded GOP field.

A source present for the meeting — which was not billed as a fundraiser — said the executives in attendance “were largely impressed with his business-like approach to big issues and his ability to transcend partisan political divides to find practical solutions.”

A Kasich campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Blackstone declined to comment.

Schwarzman wasn’t the only big private-equity executive in the room. Apollo Global founder Leon Black was in attendance, the source said, as was Loews Corp. CEO James Tisch. The event was held at Schwarzman’s office, the source said.

Wall Street isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory to the Ohio governor. Kasich worked at Lehman Brothers from 2001 until the firm’s collapse in 2008 — something his political opponents have sought to use against him.

Thus far in the race for the Republican nomination, Kasich has attempted to posit himself as a conservative who has has been able to win over an electorate in perhaps the country’s most important swing state. He has successfully gained ground in key early-voting states like New Hampshire.

But he still lags behind real-estate mogul Donald Trump, the current GOP front-runner, and a handful of other candidates nationally.

Wall Street opening its doors to Kasich’s candidacy comes at a potentially crucial point in the Republican campaign.

In a recent interview with Fortune, Schwarzman said he studied a tax plan from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to cut private equity’s crucial tax deduction and said “we couldn’t figure it out.”

As reported by Business Insider