GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich was at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Friday and was the first presidential candidate to make a public appearance in Connecticut.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows the Ohio governor, who was once considered a long shot, may be the Republicans best hope in November.
Some Connecticut Republicans said they consider him more moderate, however Democrats said Kasich is not moderate when it comes to women's rights.
"We don't want to live down in the ditch,” Kasich said. “America loses everything. First of all that's patent nonsense OK."
Kasich said he isn't buying into the doom and gloom that’s being heard on the campaign trail. However, he told students and faculty at Sacred Heart University there's work to be done.
"My job is to clean that mess up and get the economy moving it, which I know how to do,” Kasich said
The GOP hopeful was invited by Connecticut Republicans, who are finding it harder and harder to vote for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who they feel are extremists.
"I feel like he because of Trump and his behavior,” State Senator Tony Hwang said. “I would say Kasich is coming out as an underdog I think."
But, Hwang, who supports Kasich and his economic policies, is not on board with Kasich's actions towards women’s rights.
"I am not perfectly aligned,” Hwang said. “I do disagree on some of the social aspects and that is for me and that is for Connecticut."
Connecticut Democrats said Kasich wants voters to believe he is a sensible, moderate Republican. However, he signed a bill this year to defund Planned Parenthood and is anti-choice.
“He touts himself as being a moderate compared to his running mates, but it doesn't seem like he's moderate to me on this issue at all,” Fairfield City Councilor Democratic Jill Vergara said.
Eyewitness News asked Kaisch to comment on Planned Parenthood and the criticism on women's rights.
“Connecticut is a state strong rights,” Kasich said. "Yeah, look we are not going to cut any funding to women's health, we are just going to do it differently. And secondly by expanding Medicaid, we cover over 330,000 Ohio women, who wouldn't have had coverage, so we are doing it a little differently."
Kasich said he's a conservative and thinks he will get delegates and voters in Connecticut.
A state such as Connecticut that has many moderate Republicans, Kasich said he feels he can do very well in the primary and told Eyewitness News he still thinks he can do well at the convention.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.