FAIRFIELD, Conn. — It was pretty clear which candidate John Mihalic supports as he walked into the John Kasich Town Hall Meeting at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Friday.
Mihalic carried a poster bearing a cartoon drawing of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and the slogan “Kasich NOT Way Sick.”
“He has clear views, but he also works with people who have different views,” the Fairfield resident said of Kasich, the governor of Ohio and one of the three major candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president.
Mihalic, who said he has been disappointed with the 2016 political race, said he’s still waiting for a GOP debate that is “intelligent and policy-based.”
Asked about Trump’s enduring popularity, Mihalic shrugged.
“People’s emotions get tied up in a funny way,” he said.
Mihalic was one of about 1,000 people who crowded into Sacred Heart University’s Martire Business & Communications Center to hear from the two-term Ohio governor. Many said they were supporters, but others were just curious about Kasich, who some said has been overshadowed by his oft-fiery and flamboyant competitors, Trump and Ted Cruz.
Friday’s event was a low-key affair. Though it was billed as a ticketed event, there was no registration desk or even a security checkpoint. Pop music piped through the large central hall as people took chairs, found seats on the stairs behind the small stage or snagged a spot looking down from the mezzanine above. The event was hosted by former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays and state Sen. Tony Hwang, who is Kasich’s Connecticut campaign manager.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for the state of Connecticut to see a person who offers substance and results… rather than rhetoric and anger,” Hwang said.
Students Maria Mossa of Stamford and Joe Durante, of Upper Saddle River, N.J., are looking for someone who can beat Hillary Clinton in the November election. They hadn’t decided on a final candidate, but they were squarely in the Republican camp.
“We’re voting for whoever the Republic nominee is,” she said. “Their views correlate to how I feel.”
Durante hoped to shake Kasich’s hand. “It would be cool to meet a politician,” he said. “This is probably the most exciting election of this generation.”
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