COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite a third-place finish in neighboring Michigan, Ohio Gov. John Kasich reiterated to supporters Tuesday that he'd win his home state in next week’s Republican presidential primary.
Speaking to a crowd of about 200 people at Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, Kasich said he is in a “virtual dead heat” with two other Republican candidates in the upcoming primaries: Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
“One week from tonight, we are going to win the state of Ohio,” Kasich said.
— Joshua Lim (@JoshuaLim93) March 9, 2016
At the time he made his speech Tuesday night, Kasich was in second place in Michigan’s GOP primary -- behind Trump -- but said he was pleased with the results. He was polling fourth in Michigan late February, behind Trump, Cruz and Marco Rubio.
“People are beginning to reward a positive campaign,” Kasich said.
Results early Wednesday morning showed him in third place, behind Trump and Cruz.
The Ohio Republican presidential primary will be held March 15. A total of 66 delegates are up for grabs in a winner-takes-all contest. A win in Ohio would give Kasich’s campaign a much-needed boost to compete with the other candidates.
Despite Ohio being the governor’s home state, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor acknowledged his victory isn't guaranteed.
“When we wake up tomorrow, we have a lot of work to do,” Taylor said.
According to Public Policy Polling, Trump stands at 38 percent to Kasich's 35 percent in an Ohio race that's still "pretty fluid:" When PPP surveyed 638 likely Republican voters over the weekend, only 69 percent had committed to a candidate, leaving another 31 percent up for grabs.
And, PPP found, people were more likely to choose Kasich over Trump if forced to pick between just the two of them.
MORE: What else the poll found
Kasich is scheduled to hold about seven more town halls before the March 15 primary, four of which will be in Ohio.
Nationally, Kasich is polling third, behind Trump and Cruz, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Joshua Lim is a fellow in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaLim93.