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Presidential Hopeful John Kasich Tells Wisconsin Audience He's the Best Candidate

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Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at a campaign rally at the Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West hotel on March 23, 2016 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

There are less than two weeks left until Wisconsin’s presidential primary election, and now hopefuls or their surrogates are beginning to flock to the state. On Wednesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich hosted a town hall meeting at the Crown Plaza hotel in Wauwatosa.

Gov. Kasich repeatedly hammered home this message.

“I’m the only one who can beat Hillary,” Kasich said.

While neither party has yet to pick their nominee, Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders by about 300 delegates. On the Republican side, Donald Trump leads in delegates with more than 700, Kasich has about 140.

Kasich admitted he has a lot of work to do.

“Look, I’ve been running behind from the beginning. Most of you, until about three weeks ago, thought my name was Governor of Ohio. (Be)Cause Kasich was too hard to pronounce,” he said.

While at this point it would be impossible for Kasich to secure enough delegates to become the nominee before the GOP convention, he said he does not think the other two candidates will get the needed number either.

Kasich declined to answer a question from the audience about whether he would support Senator Ted Cruz or Donald Trump if one of them gets the nomination. Throughout the nearly hour long meeting in Wauwatosa, Kasich touched on topics such as terrorism and unity and veterans issues as well as the economy. He said he understands why people are supporting Trump.

“Here’s what they’re worried about, 'I’m going to lose my job and somebody’s going to rip me off. Secondly, I can’t get any pay raises and thirdly, I used to give my money to a bank and then they give me interest, now they don’t give me squat. And I’m worried about my kids. What kind of future are my kids going to have?'” Kasich said.

Kasich said these concerns are legitimate, and he’s the only candidate with the experience to address them. He then told the crowd that he needs their help.

“Look, I had to take care of Ohio, I’m here a little bit late, we know that. But you can change it all for me if you really want to,” Kasich said.

After the meeting, supporter Damon Young stopped to pick up four Kasich for President yard signs. He said seeing Kasich in person reaffirmed his belief the candidate.

“It’s a bit of a Hail Mary at this point and I understand that. I came out today to confirm my belief that he could get it done if it comes to a contested convention. I’m still not convinced that the Hail Mary will be completed, but there’s got to be an alternative to what is currently out there,” Young said.

Thee issues Young is most concerned about are social security, job creation and national defense.

Eighteen-year-old Kayla Kline said she supports the governor’s fiscal conservatism. “Cutting taxes, cutting the death tax cutting individual taxes. I come from a family with a lot of self-owned businesses, so I can really relate with that,” she said.

While Kline doubts Kasich will be the nominee, she said it’s time to put a moderate conservative in office.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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