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Kasich tells Syracuse he'll come back as president, despite being behind in race

Kristen Powers
For WRVO News
Gov. John Kasich answered questions from central New Yorkers at a town hall at Le Moyne College Friday evening.

A crowded Le Moyne College auditorium welcomed Gov. John Kasich to Syracuse Friday night.

It’s no secret that Kasich is losing the three-man race for the GOP nomination with a total of 143 delegates.

That’s less than 20 percent of the 743 delegates Donald Trump has won and less than 30 percent of the 520 delegates Sen. Ted Cruz has earned.

But, Kasich refuses to call it quits.

He told the Syracuse town hall audience he plans to make it to the top.

“Realistically, what are your plans to get the nomination?” asked an audience member.

“Well, first of all we are going to have an open convention and it’s going to be a remarkable thing,” Kasich replied.

He said people will eventually realize he’s the only candidate who can win the general election and is qualified to be president.

But his plan for success is dependent on Trump failing to win the majority of delegate votes -- 1,237 -- by the Republican National Convention in July.

Only then could Kasich’s plan for an open convention become a reality.

A contested convention would free up some of the delegates pledged to vote for Trump through state rules and allow them to cast their vote for another candidate.

“I believe we will end up at that convention, and when I get to spend my time visiting the delegations and letting people know who I am, I believe I will be the nominee, and then I’m going to end up being the president, and then I’m coming back here to see you again, OK?” Kasich said confidentially.

In New York state, a Monmouth University poll released last week showed Kasich coming in second among the GOP candidates, though far behind the front runner. Donald Trump received support from 52 percent of likely Republican votes, while Kasich got 25 percent, and Ted Cruz 17 percent.

Credit Kristen Powers / For WRVO News
For WRVO News

Some audience members Friday night think Kasich’s optimistic goal could become a reality.

Le Moyne College sophomore Abigail Fallon is a registered Republican and said Kasich shouldn’t give up.

“I feel like this is the first election where they are talking about maybe having the Republican candidate not be the front-runner so this definitely wouldn’t be one to drop out of, even if you are behind,” said Fallon about Kasich.

She thinks Kasich has done a good job refraining from bullying and staying out of drama.

Another college student, Calli Nedbalski agreed. “I think that now it doesn’t look like it as much, but in the long run when people start focusing more on the politics than the entertainment, I think that’s where he’s going to come out strong,” she said.

Nedbalski majors in education and was glad Kasich talked about giving states more power when it comes to education.

However, she said Kasich didn’t clearly address his plans to help relieve student loans.

Greg Millet, a middle-aged local, said he is a Trump supporter, but was impressed by Kasich.

“I enjoyed Gov. Kasich tonight. He’s a very smart man and he’s my number two and he could move up to my number one,” said Millet.

If there’s a contested convention, Millet says he thinks he could stand behind Kasich.

“If Trump doesn’t take it at the convention, if Kasich is the chosen one, I will go with Kasich,” Millet said.