LANSING, Michigan – Ohio Gov. John Kasich was optimistic he’d have a strong showing Tuesday night in Michigan’s presidential primary but told supporters to keep up their work until the polls close.
Kasich made his final Michigan campaign rally at a brewery in Lansing, a city of 113,000, where he spoke to a crowd of roughly 250.
“I think we’re going to have a very strong finish here, better than anyone thought a few days ago,” Kasich told the crowd.
The campaign is counting on a strong ground game in the state to help the governor rake in lots of votes. Roughly 1,000 volunteers fanned out through Michigan to make final calls and door knocks.
His campaign hopes he has a strong, unexpected finish to give him a big boost before he heads back to stumping in Ohio later this week.
A good showing in Michigan will also bring much-needed attention to the campaign before Kasich begins going after votes in other Midwestern states, including Illinois and Pennsylvania.
“A great result in this state is going to send a message across the country and, frankly, I believe across the world,” Kasich said.
Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley also backed Kasich’s claim of soaring support in the state at the rally.
“There’s a tremendous amount of momentum across the state right now – I think the whole conversation around this presidential election is changing right now, and it’s changing in favor of John Kasich,” Calley said.
Kasich has been climbing in the polls in recent days after a good performance at Thursday’s debate. Volunteers on the ground in Michigan said voters are giving Kasich a second look after his debate performance.
“I think the debate helped and I think the media is treating me well now and I’m getting the attention I deserve,” Kasich told a WCPO Insider reporter after Tuesday’s rally.
Kasich’s campaign strategy has become clear in recent days: He wants a brokered convention in Cleveland so he can be the guy to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican National Convention.
He thinks he can do well in Midwestern states in the coming months, especially if he takes the votes in Ohio next Tuesday.
“This is what we always planned, is to head north,” Kasich said of his campaign strategy. “I think the schedule is moving our way … I believe I will be the nominee.”