On Monday, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich stopped by the Penrose Diner in South Philadelphia to talk with Pennsylvania voters.
Penn for Kasich, currently the only campaign group on campus to have endorsed a Republican candidate, also attended.
Kasich, who was born outside Pittsburgh but serves as governor of Ohio, is upping his grassroots efforts in Pennsylvania in advance of Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary. According to an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll released on Sunday, Kasich maintains support from only 24 percent of likely Pennsylvania voters, falling in third after Trump and Cruz.
This campaign stop is also one of Kasich’s first following news that his campaign will be coordinating with Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) to deny Donald Trump the Republican nomination.
Chairman of Penn for Kasich and College junior Joe Kiernan had seen the candidate twice before.
“It was great to see the governor in Philadelphia,” he said.
During his hour-long visit, Kasich signed memorabilia, ate at the diner’s bar and met with the owners.
About eight Penn students appeared at the event along with a crowd of Kasich supporters and press members. Only one student was able to speak with the governor, while several got the opportunity to shake his hand.
College junior Ben Fogel said he heard about the event from Kiernan and became an ardent supporter of the Ohio governor following the second Republican primary debate.
“He does have experience as a responsible and experienced leader of a major U.S. state,” Fogel said. He liked that “[Kasich] has very nuanced views on some of these positions, and that at times he’s willing to take a principled or unpopular view, despite members of the Republican Party moving to the right. He’s been a moderating voice.”
Engineering senior Dillon Weber, another member of Penn for Kasich at the event, said the candidate had “been [his] pick the entire season.”
Yesterday, Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe released a statement, saying, “To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico.”
Republican frontrunner and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump responded by tweeting “Lyin’ Ted Cruz and 1 for 38 Kasich are unable to beat me on their own so they have to team up (collusion) in a two on one. Shows weakness!”
Kasich has a difficult path to the Republican nomination ahead. With only 165 delegates, compared to Cruz’s 559 and Trump’s 845, he remains in a distant third place.
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