Ohio Governor and Presidential hopeful John Kasich felt right at home in the first part of his return to his home state, but faced a tough crowd later Friday afternoon.
Gov. Kasich (R-Ohio), a native of McKees Rocks, Pa. outside of Pittsburgh, spent Friday campaigning in Central Pennsylvania ahead of the April 26 primary. He currently trails Donald Trump in most Pennsylvania primary polls and sits in third behind Trump and Ted Cruz behind in national polls.
Kasich opened Friday at a town hall event at Hershey's automotive museum, speaking to an estimated crowd of nearly 1,000 people, mostly Kasich supporters. There were some Trump supporters in the audience, as well as "moderate Democrats" who were able to ask questions.
Throughout the town hall, Kasich avoided the attacks on Democrats and his fellow Republican candidates which have become a large story during the campaign season.
"I made a commitment to everybody, I will not take the lowest road to the highest office in the land," he said to a round of applause.
Kasich said he prefers the town hall setting than the debate stage, "where you people give soundbites to attack one another and you give everyone in the audience a thrill like they're in a demolition derby," he added.
Kasich's maintained he will be the Republican party's nominee, and he plans on having a contested Republican National Convention to help him win. He believes neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz will have enough delegates secured to get the nomination ahead of time.
"Who can beat Hillary Clinton?" he asked a crowd of a few hundred at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference at Camp Hill's Radisson Convention Center Friday afternoon. "I'm the only one who can beat Hillary in Fall election."
His reception at the PLC was not nearly as well met as his town hall event. More people were in attendance for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's speech later in the day. When Gov. Kasich made a comment how "teachers are the most underpaid profession in the nation," a section of the crowd groaned. One man yelled, "Not true, governor! Not true!"
A woman stood up during a question-and-answer session, identified herself as a nurse, and complained to the governor about his position.
"Do you want to just eliminate teachers?" Gov Kasich then sighed. "Ok… I'm in favor of putting you in charge of your school budgets. If you want to cut teachers pay that's up to you."
He then turned, smiled, and before he took another question, said, "Theres a murmur in the crowd and I enjoy it."
Gov. Kasich avoided personal attacks on Cruz and Trump, both in the town hall and PLC speech. He did, however, go after some of their policies, including a thinly-veiled shot at both in regards to their stance on fighting terrorism.
He called for the United States to work as a coalition with Arab nations such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as European nations, to fight the Islamic State.
"We need to go in the air, on the ground, and destroy ISIS. That would be the biggest blow we could do to these crazy people. These murderers."
He's hoping to be the one to unite what many feel is a fractured party, and nation.
"We can fix these problems but there's one thing we have to remember: We may be Republicans. We may be Democrats. But...we are Americans before anything else."