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Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will be in Utah on Friday for three campaign stops ahead of the anticipated March 21 debate between the GOP contenders and Utah's March 22 presidential caucus.
Kasich will hold a town hall at the Sorensen Student Center on the Orem campus of Utah Valley University on Friday at 11:30 a.m., then the Ohio governor will travel to the University of Utah for another event at 3 p.m. He will finish the day with a town hall at Davis High School in Kaysville at 5:30 p.m.
Kasich's swing through the state is the first announced by a candidate ahead of the Utah caucuses, although other visits are expected. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, will be in town to campaign for her mother Tuesday. She'll have breakfast with Latino leaders at La Puente, 3540 S. State St., at 8:45 a.m., then stop by the Hillary for Utah campaign headquarters before going to a "Women for Hillary" organizing event at 2 p.m.
It will be Kasich's third visit to the Beehive State. He came to Utah in December for a fundraiser and to tour The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' welfare programs with Gov. Gary Herbert, praising the faith as a model for charity work.
Last summer, he was one of several GOP hopefuls who spoke at Mitt Romney's E2 Summit in Deer Valley.
Kasich is trailing the pack of remaining presidential candidates, having secured 63 delegates to Donald Trump's 460. To win the GOP nomination, a candidate needs 1,237. But Kasich has built a firewall of sorts in his home state of Ohio, which holds its winner-take-all primary Tuesday.
Kasich has moved ahead of Trump in recent polling in that state, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has begun to encourage his supporters to vote for Kasich in an effort to deny Trump the party nod.
Utah's caucuses, with 40 delegates allocated proportionately based on the percentage of the vote received, will be held March 22.
Most of the top elected officials in Utah have thrown their support behind Rubio. Sen. Mike Lee is backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Gov. Gary Herbert has not announced an endorsement but has said it could come ahead of Utah's caucus meetings and that he leans toward supporting fellow governors. Kasich is the only governor still in the race.
Kasich and the other remaining GOP candidates are expected to debate March 21, but Trump has said he may skip that encounter, especially if he has won enough delegates by then to virtually be assured the Republican nomination.
"It is time to end the debates. I didn't know about a debate in Salt Lake City," Trump said last week. "We've had enough. … The networks want them; I don't think any of the candidates want them at this point."
It would be the 12th showdown between the narrowing field of Republican candidates.
The Republican National Committee and the Utah Republican Party have yet to announce a venue for the scheduled debate.