With hours until the polls open, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and auditor general candidate Eugene DePasquale stopped by a union phone bank in Harrisburg late this afternoon to thank volunteers.
Casey, who is fending off a challenge from Republican Tom Smith, told the group that at this point, it's really up to them.
"This is where the election gets won, with the hard work that you're doing to get people out to vote," he said. "The closer the hours get to the polls opening and then the polls closing, you realize the candidates have less and less to do with it really."
Volunteers from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and other unions have been making about 2,000 calls a day, said Elaine Barber, the phone bank coordinator. David Fillman, executive director of AFSCME Council 13, said efforts now are about getting out the vote.
"Really, it's a matter of maybe compensating for some of the votes that aren't going to be around in New Jersey and New York and possibly in some of the Philadelphia area, with some of the electricity still out," he said.
Casey was leading polls this sumer by wide margins before the race appeared to tighten in the fall. But he told reporters he's feeling good going into Election Day.
"Look, it's a tough state," he said. "You always have to be campaigning to the last minute. But I think people know the difference now maybe more so than a month ago. I hesitate to make predictions, other than to say I think we're going to win this."
DePasquale told the volunteers he'd gotten his start in a similar fashion, going door-to-door for his grandfather on the Pittsburgh City Council. DePasquale, a state representative from York County, is running against fellow Rep. John Maher, a Republican from Upper St. Clair, to replace Auditor General Jack Wagner, a Pittsburgh Democrat who is barred by term limits from running again.
After speaking to the phone bank, DePasquale said he feels good about the campaign he's run, including the 90,000 miles he's put on his car. Tomorrow, he said he'll be watching for the numbers out of Philadelphia, where a Democrat running statewide wants to run up the score.
"When you run for auditor general -- this is no secret -- you can't afford Philadelphia television," he said. "That's out of your control how that works out, so we're going to see how the turnout works there."
Since DePasquale -- like Maher -- is also running without major-party opposition for another term in the House, he knows he can expect at least one victory.
"We feel very confident on one, he said. "And we feel supremely confident on the other."