NYS Presidential Primary: Kasich Comes To Bay Ridge


John Kasich may be running third in the race to grab the GOP nomination, but he drew a packed house last night at the Bay Ridge Manor for a Veteran’s Town Hall event where many attendees were undecided Republicans, hoping to get a taste of the alternative candidate in the suddenly narrowed field.

Too be sure, a good number in the crowd were curious Cruz supporters, with even some Trump hat-wearing individuals scattered in the audience, and Kasich has no mathematical shot at reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to get the nomination, but the Ohio governor expressed optimism that the candidates will go to a “brokered” convention where anything can happen.

John Kasich embraces television personality and supporter Montel Williams.

Bay Ridge Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and surprise guest Montel Williams, a television personality and American veteran, introduced Kasich, in which he ardently expressed his support for the governor in a tear-filled impromptu speech.

“With all the screaming, all the theatrics, come November 3rd, there’s still going to be an ISIS, there’s still going to be unemployment, there’s still going to be starvation. It’s time the nation understands that amateur hour is over,” said Williams. He added later “we’re going to go to a convention, and there are a few things the delegates will consider. Can we win in November? Who could actually be president? Who can unite the country? Who can rally the world and get on top of this insanity?”

While Kasich talked for a time about his agenda – cutting taxes, criminal justice reform, social security -he spent most of the time answering questions and concerns from the audience, making it a town hall in the traditional sense.

As it was a veterans town hall, the candidate spoke at length about the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), and about what he was going to do to alleviate the problems that have followed the Obama Administration in caring for America’s wounded in a timely fashion. Willaims intervened at one point, lamenting that the VA had a two day waiting period for the suicide hotline.

“When we know a veteran is coming home, we need to know that the Pentagon is working with the States to get the veterans the help they need and the services they need,” said Kasich, outlining one of his plans to fix the VA.

Another main point that Kasich pushed was his experience and sensibility. “I don’t really care about politics. We have problems and they need to be solved,” claimed the governor. This refers to the constant and incessant attacks between the other two Republican presidential candidates. On the Democratic side, the candidates have also been getting more aggressive, with Sanders saying that Clinton is “unqualified to be president,” and Clinton saying that Sanders needs to “tone down his campaign.” It is no surprise that Kasich is attempting to paint himself as an above-the-fray candidate.

Nobody seemed uneasy about the impossibility of Kasich becoming the nominee as a result of the popular vote. One supporter, a student from Syracuse University, explained that “if Trump is chosen, the party is shattered. If Cruz is chosen, the party is shattered. If Kasich is chosen, the party is shattered.”