Maureen O’Brien, a 37-year Sunday school teacher from Bethpage, knows the date when Republican presidential contender John Kasich won her support: Feb. 6.
Kasich, 63, Ohio’s governor since 2011, was campaigning in Hollis, N.H., three days before the New Hampshire primary. Suddenly, campaign aides and reporters started hurling snowballs at Kasich. He fired back, smiling and laughing. Before long, the candidate was rolling in the snow.
“He was like a little boy,” said O’Brien, 69, adding, “He’s so genuine. When he talks, you know he’s not hedging.”
O’Brien was among more than 700 people –– many supporters, others curious to learn more about Kasich –– who turned out at Hofstra University’s Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center on Monday, ahead of New York’s presidential primary on April 19.
It was Kasich’s first appearance on Long Island. He was to follow up with a second town hall meeting in Huntington on Monday evening, after press time.
Some 350 people filled the main hall at Hofstra, with another 350 in an overflow room, said Neena Samuel, Hofstra’s associate director of public relations.
O’Brien sat close to Kasich’s podium. In her lap, she held a handmade sign in red, white and blue, “Go Johnny Go.”
“I like his demeanor,” O’Brien remarked.
The day before, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump had called on Kasich to drop out of the race, saying that he had won only one state –– Ohio –– and that he had no chance of winning the nomination. “Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to continue, and the [Republican National Committee] shouldn’t allow him to continue,” Trump told a small group of reporters in Milwaukee, according to The New York Times.
Trump also contended that Kasich was siphoning off votes from him –– votes that he needs to reach 1,237 delegates and secure the GOP nomination. At press time, Trump had 736 delegates; Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, 463; and Kasich, 143.
Kasich addressed calls for him to drop out by asking,“Why would I get out?” He is, he said, the only one of the three remaining GOP candidates “who beats Hillary in the fall.”
According to the RealClearPolitics polling aggregator, Kasich would defeat Clinton by 6.6 percentage points, if the election were held today.
Kasich on the issues