Ohio Governor John Kasich has officially joined the already crowded Republican field seeking the 2016 presidential nomination.
The 63-year-old former congressman declared his candidacy at Ohio State University, where as a political science freshman he wrote a letter that earned him a 20-minute audience with President Richard Nixon in 1970.
Mr Kasich told supporters that America can overcome the challenges it faces, as it did after the Civil War, the Great Depression and the 9/11 terror attacks.
“Challenges make us better,” he said.
America overcame those obstacles by “staying together, not by dividing each other”, he added.
“The sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again.”
Mr Kasich briefly ran for president in 2000 after helping to seal a federal balanced budget deal as House Budget chairman in 1997.
Since becoming Ohio Governor in 2011, he has helped to erase a projected $8bn (£5bn) budget deficit and has overseen private-sector employment reaching its post-recession level.
He told supporters on Tuesday that if elected to the Oval Office he would “balance the books” and put the US on a “path to fiscal responsibility”.
Mr Kasich has spent the last year touring the country but is at the bottom of polls of the Republican contenders.
He has also refused to criticise President Barack Obama, or leading Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
At a New Hampshire forum when asked to give three reasons Mrs Clinton would make a bad president, he replied: “If I’ve got to spend my time trashing people to be successful in this, you can count me out.”
The former Fox News television commentator faces a challenge to qualify for the first Republican debate next month in Cleveland, Ohio, with only the top 10 candidates in national polling getting an invite.
Supporters at political organisation New Day For America have raised $11.5m £7.3m) ahead of his official entry into the race.
Mr Kasich was born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, as the grandson of Hungarian, Czech and Croatian immigrants.
He became the youngest person to be elected to the Ohio Senate in 1978 at the age of 26.