SOMERSET HILLS, NJ - For the first time in decades, a Repbublican presidential candidate has come to the Somerset Hills area during a contested presidential primary. Ohio Governor John Kasich appeared Friday night in one of the quintessential Republican venues, the barn at Pontrefract, the family home of former Governor Christine Todd Whitman.
An overflow crowd of supporters filled the barn at Pontrefract for the fundraiser. The 17-member host committee was loaded with Republican star power. In addition to former governor Whitman, several Republicans who have represented the Somerset Hills hosted the event. The host committee included Senator Kip Bateman, former Congressman Dick Zimmer and state Assemblyman (R-Dist. 16) Jack Ciatterelli and his wife, Melinda. Ciatterelli, who is rumored to be exploring his own run for governor, has represented the area as a both Somerset County Freeholder and as a member of the State Assembly.
Republican Party leader Scott Siprelle of Princeton and Governor Whitman introduced Kasich to the enthusiastic crowd.
Kasich addressed the tone of the campaign, promising that he would not "get into the gutter" with Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz, and that his campaign would continue to take the high road during the primary. He contrasted his own handling of protestors with that of the GOP frontrunner by talking about how he has had individual conversations with protestors after town hall meetings, instead of having them removed.
"It was a pleasure to be able to support Governor Kasich's presidential nomination by attending last night's event and contributing," said Ciatterelli. "After meeting him personally and hearing him speak at length I am more convinced that he is right for the Republican Party and for the United States."
Kasich was a leader in the House of Representatives the last time the country balanced the federal budget, and is now in his second term as Governor of Ohio. In addition to speaking about his record as a member of the House and as Governor, Kasich touted his own electability. "I am the only game in town that can beat Hillary Clinton," he told the audience.
Kasich promised that his campaign would go all the way to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Before the convention, Kasich will compete in the June 7 primary, where all 51 delegates will be up for grabs in a winner-take-all contest.