HOWARD BEACH — Gov. John Kasich made a campaign stop in Howard Beach Wednesday at a local pizza place ahead of the April 19 New York primary.
The Republican presidential candidate made an appearance at Gino's Pizzeria & Restaurant at 158-46 Cross Bay Blvd. at 159th Avenue, speaking to voters and reporters.
“It’s New York, man. If there were only one delegate here I’d be here," Kasich said when asked about why he was stopping in Queens. "This is New York, this is the heart of America, the heartbeat.”
Kaisch, who was polling at 16 percent behind Donald Trump (43 percent) and Sen. Ted Cruz (29 percent) according to a March 23rd Quinnipiac poll, distanced himself from the other Republican candidates by highlighting his plan to defeat ISIS and bring the world together.
"I think the differences are very stark between myself and the other two candidates, particularly in the area of foreign policy, which I know that all New Yorkers are concerned about," he said.
After speaking to voters, Kasich also served attendees pizza from Gino's.
"It tastes extra good because it's free," said Joe Kasper after John Kasich served him at Gino's in Howard Beach. pic.twitter.com/qog8OY52hD— Ben Fractenberg (@fractenberg) March 30, 2016
Fred Toborg, 75, was celebrating his birthday with his wife, Barbara, 76, when Kasich walked into the restaurant.
"Kasich is the only grownup in the race," said Toborg, who plans to vote for Kasich. "It's a great birthday present he's here."
The presidential contender also talked about supporting NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton's comments about spying on Muslim communities.
"It's also very interesting and I concur with Mr. Bratton, the police chief, that triggering neighborhoods based on some sort of religious labeling is only going to work against our ability to develop cooperation between all those who represent the civilized world battling against those group of murderers that are really, frankly, I think limited in number," Kasich said.
Most patrons in Gino's expressed their support for Kasich, though a giant Trump flag could be seen on flagpole across the Shellbank Basin.
Augusto Dominguez, 16, managed to fight his way through the media scrum to take a picture with Kasich in the restaurant.
"He's a very open person," Dominguez said. "He speaks the truth. He loves the country."
Kasich will also appear in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on Friday.