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Kasich: Close race in Ohio special election 'doesn't bode well' for Republicans

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican critic of President Trump, said a special election in his state that should be a "slam dunk" for the GOP is instead close, which "doesn't bode well" for his party.

Kasich told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday that the special congressional election Tuesday in a district that Trump won by double digits is surprisingly close.

"It’s really kind of shocking because this should be just a slam dunk, and it’s not," Kasich said.

He said that, in the end, he believes Republican Troy Balderson will beat Democrat Danny O'Connor in the House race for Ohio's 12th District. "But it really doesn’t bode well for the Republican Party" because the election "shouldn’t even be contested," Kasich said.

"Why is it even close?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"First of all, the chaos that seems to surround Donald Trump has unnerved a lot of people," the Republican governor said. "So suburban women in particular here are the ones that are really turned off. And you add to that the millennials -- you have it very close."

Kasich, who ran against Trump for the 2016 Republican nomination and is a prominent critic of the president, also commented on Trump's holding a rally in Ohio on Friday for Balderson.

Kasich said Balderson told him he hadn't had anything to do with the president's decision to come to Ohio.

"I asked him the other day, 'Why are you bringing Trump in?' He said, 'Well, I don't have anything to do with it,'" Kasich said. "You know, I think Donald Trump decides where he wants to go, and I think they're firing up his base."

Stephanopoulos also asked about Trump's taking a swipe at NBA star and Ohio native LeBron James with a tweet saying that it is hard to make "LeBron look smart."

The tweet Friday came in response to an interview James conducted with CNN host Don Lemon, a frequent punching bag for the president. James spoke to Lemon from the public school he opened for at-risk kids in Akron, called the I Promise School. Every student receives free tuition, food, uniforms and bicycles.

Both James and Lemon are African-American.

Kasich told Stephanopoulos, Trump "is a divider" and "the chaos" sparked by the president is why the number of people who belong to the Republican Party has declined.

"Republicans have gone from about 30-31 percent down to about 25 percent," of the electorate, Kasich said. "The party has shrunk because we don't have this positive growth-oriented opportunity message."

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