In Philly, Kasich defends alliance with Cruz to beat back Trump

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

At a campaign stop in Philadelphia on Monday, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich defended his decision to team up with Ted Cruz in an attempt to beat back front-runner Donald Trump.

“I don’t have you know like, Daddy Warbucks behind me giving me all this money,” Kasich said over a plate of fried eggs at the Penrose Diner in South Philadelphia. “I have to be careful about my resources.”

Here’s the plan: Cruz will back out of contests in New Mexico and Oregon, while Kasich has agreed to stop campaigning in Indiana. The goal is to deny Trump the nomination by keeping him from getting the 1,237 pledged delegates he needs to avoid a contested convention. 

Kasich balked when asked whether the strategy would be unfair to voters.

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“All you gotta do is get to the right number of delegates and then you win,” he said. “If you can’t get the right number of delegates, you don’t win and then the delegates who were selected through a democratic process get to choose. What’s wrong with that?” (For a primer on how Pennsylvania’s complex GOP delegate rules work, click here.)

But the deal concerns Kasich supporter Daniel Levy, of Montgomery County, who showed up at the diner to shake the Ohio governor’s hand. He said he would prefer Kasich go it alone.

“I was a boxer,” Levy said. “In the boxing ring, all you see is your opponent and your medical team and your coach. If you can’t win by yourself, then there’s no point.”

Denise Furey, of West Philadelphia, also went to the diner and said she doesn’t have a problem with the strategy.

“I don’t think it’s undemocratic,” she said. “I think it’s their choice.”

Some Trump voters, decked out in t-shirts emblazoned with the Trump logo also turned up at the diner, including Chris Botta, of South Philadelphia.  He said the Kasich-Cruz alliance sums up his problem with the Republican Party right now.

“They’re always trying to get ahead of Trump,” Botta said. “If everybody hates him, he’s gotta be the right guy… because he says what I feel. He says what I’ve always felt, which is one man, one vote, government for the people, by the people.”

The effort comes on the eve of Tuesday’s primaries in several northeastern states, including Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Trump, who has called his two opponents “weak” for colluding against him, is holding a rally in West Chester, Pennsylvania late Monday afternoon.

Kasich weighs in on soda tax

While he was on the stump at the Penrose Diner, Kasich weighed in on Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed 3-cents-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks. Kasich joined Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in opposing the tax. 

“I’m not for any soda tax,” he said. “I’m not for taxes.”

Kasich said he is “sympathetic” to Kenney’s goal to fund early childhood education, but “whenever you raise taxes you hurt economic development and when you cut taxes you help economic development, as long as you are able to maintain and reduce the overhead of your operation.”

In an op-ed for Philadelphia Magazine, Sanders wrote the tax would “hit many Philadelphians hard,” while his rival Hillary Clinton said during a campaign stop with Kenney that she is “very supportive” of the proposal.

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