GLASTONBURY, Conn. (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich told Connecticut residents on Friday he’s seeing signs some Republican presidential primary voters in states that already voted may have second thoughts about supporting front-runner Donald Trump and now want him to be to the party’s nominee instead.
“These polls that show turnarounds and people having buyer’s remorse are very interesting,” Kasich told reporters following a town hall meeting at Glastonbury High School’s gymnasium that drew more than 1,000 people.
He pointed to new polling that shows more New Hampshire primary voters now support him than support Trump, who won that state back in February.
Kasich urged the crowd to help him win some of the state’s 28 delegates at Tuesday’s primary so he can have greater standing at the national convention in July.
“No one is going to have enough delegates, and we’re all going to learn about how we pick a president, and I think it will be very interesting,” Kasich told the crowd. “Make sure that you get out and vote and allow me to win delegates in the district in which you live so I can go to the convention in a strong position.”
Connecticut is one of five states holding presidential primaries on Tuesday. A Quinnipiac University Poll shows Kasich trailing Trump 48 percent to 28 percent, with 19 percent supporting Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Kasich receives more support from younger voters, 18- to 44-years-old, compared with Trump and Cruz. The poll’s margin of sampling error is 3.4 percentage points.
State Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, chairman of Kasich’s campaign in Connecticut, predicted the state could ultimately prove very helpful to his candidate, who has the backing of many of the state’s top Republicans past and present.
“Connecticut for the first time in a long time will matter in the presidential primary,” Hwang said. “I think if he doesn’t win, he will make a strong showing and he will finish a strong second ahead of Cruz. And the reality is it will be an opportunity to get to the convention.”
Hwang said Connecticut Republicans can relate to Kasich’s record as governor of Ohio. He credited Kasich with protecting the state’s social safety net while addressing a massive budget deficit. Connecticut’s new fiscal year is projected to be nearly $1 billion in the red.
“He took over a state and in four years turned it around, crated jobs, balanced the budget as he has done in Congress,” Hwang said. “This is not just a person who talks about what he’s going to do, he has done it, and he has done it in a manner that the state of Connecticut — in its current fiscal crisis — can completely relate to.”
Kasich’s campaign is trying to capitalize on that message, announcing Friday it will run its first television ad in Connecticut touting his record as a governor and former member of Congress.
Friday night’s town hall was the second Kasich has held in Connecticut. He relayed the story of his life and spoke about the need for the country to rally together to solve its problems. He made no mention of the shootings in rural Ohio that left eight members of a family dead. He later told reporters that if he’s needed he will leave the campaign trail and return home.