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John Kasich: I’m the only GOP candidate who can beat Clinton

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich talks to Capital

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich talks to Capital Region residents during a town hall meeting at LaSalle Institute on Monday, April 11, 2016, in Troy, N.Y. Credit: Albany Times Union / PAUL BUCKOWSKI

TROY, N.Y. — John Kasich said Monday that New York Republicans will lose control of the state Senate if either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, his two rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, leads the party’s ticket.

Kasich met with legislative Republicans at the State Capitol and held town hall meetings here and in Saratoga Springs as he continued his quest to pick up enough delegates to force a contested Republican convention this summer. The New York primary is April 19.

Pitching himself as a “normal guy” who spent Sunday going out for Chinese food, watching the Masters golf tournament and shopping for groceries, the Ohio governor said he’s the only Republican with the “tone” to attract blue-collar Democrats and win this fall.

Kasich had a warning as well: Trump, a billionaire businessman, and Cruz, a senator from Texas, not only won’t win the White House, but could bring down other Republicans on the ballot.

“I will tell you the majority in the New York State Senate will not be a majority with the other two guys being the nominee of the party,” Kasich said, shortly before meeting with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and other Republicans at the Capitol.

He argued that Republican critics of Trump and Cruz should, “get behind me to get their people to drop out so we can actually beat Hillary Clinton.”

He added: “I think we have a good chance of having a united Republican Party with nominees who are going to get destroyed in the fall election. I am the only one who consistently beats Hillary Clinton.”

Kasich even defended “New York values,” a shot at Cruz, who has taken flak for deriding Trump for having them.

“New York is awesome,” Kasich said in a short question-and-answer session with reporters. “We have heard these things about ‘New York values’ — I’ll tell you the way I see New York values: It’s excitement. It’s innovation. It’s fun. It’s big-time living.”

Referring to his rivals, Kasich said some campaigns are about a “negative approach” that leads to “division, hopelessness, paranoia, anger.” He said he would outline a “message of hope and unity” in a speech he called “Two Paths” in Manhattan Tuesday.

State & Region