Posted: 10:33 pm Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
From Cayce, South Carolina
Back in South Carolina for the final push to Saturday’s Republican primary in the Palmetto State, Ohio Gov. John Kasich urged voters at a town hall meeting to get behind his campaign, arguing other GOP candidates are spending too much time beating up on each other and not dealing with important issues.
“We got to stop yelling at each other inside the Republican Party,” Kasich said to loud applause at a Murphy’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar.
The crowd wasn’t huge, but that’s normal for Kasich, who has been trying hard to win over South Carolina voters, hoping the momentum of his second place finish in New Hampshire will give him a boost.
And one way he has been connecting is basically by arguing that he’s not like the others in the GOP race.
“I had never thought that I was going to be in a demolition derby in my lifetime,” Kasich said to chuckles about last weekend’s GOP debate.
“But I was in one Saturday night,” he added with a big grin.
Kasich told the crowd his very familiar tales of balancing the budget while in Congress and his work as Governor of Ohio, making the case that he has the experience needed to not only be the President, but also to find bipartisan compromise.
At one point, a woman in the audience asked Kasich whether he thought the GOP race wouldn’t be settled until the party’s national convention.
“A brokered convention? Well, since they’re going to hold it in Ohio, I can’t think of a better place to do it,” Kasich said to loud laughs in a crowd that had a few people in Ohio State sweatshirts and hats.
Kasich though said he still believes the race will be settled soon enough, maybe by April 1.
The Governor’s folksy style scored points with some voters who had arrived in the undecided column.
“He seems like a down to earth guy,” said Robbie Leonard of Lexington, South Carolina. “He seems like a good guy.”
Leonard said he was down to Kasich and Donald Trump.
“I’ll be honest, I like Trump,” said Leonard, who chuckled when he said he’ll make up his mind before casting his vote on Saturday.
“I haven’t decided yet, but now I think I might vote for him,” said Michael Waters of Columbia, who said he liked Kasich’s disposition.
“I was between Trump and Bush, but now that I’ve seen the temperament of both of those, I kind of like Governor Kasich,” Waters told me.
“I’m a happy guy,” Kasich said at one point in his Tuesday night gathering, which spilled out from the party room into the dining area at the restaurant.
“I consider myself an American before I’m a Republican or a Democrat,” the Governor added.
“I would like to continue this effort to run for President,” Kasich said, as he asked voters here to give him a chance.
Kasich will find out the verdict on Saturday night.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.