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John Kasich, in the Bronx, sees ‘strongest days ahead’

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich stops for lunch

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich stops for lunch at Mike's Deli in the Bronx on Thursday, April 7, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich made his pitch to prospective voters in the Bronx and Brooklyn Thursday that the “strongest days are ahead” in his long-shot campaign against rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

The appearances at the Arthur Avenue Deli in the Bronx and a town hall forum in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, came as Kasich’s campaign ramped up its attacks against Cruz with a new TV ad and by touting a new state poll showing Cruz running last among the three candidates.

Kasich, the governor of Ohio, on Thursday released his first TV campaign ad ahead of New York’s April 19 primary. The 30-second commercial attacks Cruz for his remarks at a January debate in Iowa in which he said Trump, the controversial real estate mogul turned television personality, “embodies New York values.”

“Ted Cruz divides to get a vote. John Kasich unites to get things done,” a narrator says over snapshots of Times Square and the Manhattan skyline.

Kasich brought that same message of being a candidate looking to help “people stick together,” to some nearly 200 prospective voters who packed into the Bay Ridge Manor banquet hall in Brooklyn for a town hall forum.

Kasich was joined by former TV talk show host Montel Williams, a supporter, who hailed Kasich as the candidate who could “bring America back together again.”

Kasich told the crowd he planned to “reform” the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs and would focus on the concerns of “blue-collar” American workers.

“The wealthy and the powerful, we don’t need to worry about them, they have the connections,” Kasich told the crowd.

Having won only one primary, in his home state of Ohio, Kasich acknowledged his long-shot bid, saying winning wasn’t his only concern: “Let’s say I don’t win. Was my voice heard? Did it do any good? Did it create any legacy?”

At an afternoon meet-and-greet with some 100 supporters from Fordham University who crowded into the Arthur Avenue Italian Deli in the Bronx, Kasich vowed to remain in the race until this summer, when he hopes a contested Republican National Convention will lead to delegates supporting his candidacy over Trump’s or Cruz’s.

“It’s not just about winning, it’s about how you conduct yourself, “ Kasich said in between eating from a dish of spaghetti Bolognese.

Also Thursday, Kasich’s campaign touted a Monmouth University poll that shows Kasich ahead of Cruz in New York, as a signal that the Ohio governor’s campaign has gained ground. Both candidates continue to trail Trump.

The poll released Wednesday showed Trump leading Kasich, 52-25 percent. Cruz had 17 percent support among likely voters.

For Kasich, the second-place standing marks an upgrade from a Quinnipiac Poll released last Thursday showing him last among the trio. That poll showed Trump ahead with 56 percent, to Cruz’s 20 percent, and Kasich with 19 percent.

Cruz’s campaign did not return requests for comment Thursday.

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