Coming off of a week of hectic budget negotiations and finally the announcement of a framework, Gov. Tom Corbett spent Friday evening rallying the GOP faithful to work on races all down the ballot this fall.
Corbett told the Republican State Committee crowd at the Hershey Lodge not to be intimidated by the one-million-voter advantage held by Democrats and headlines that Pennsylvania may be more blue than purple.
He urged committee members to work hard on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith (who earlier reiterated his primary-campaign message that President Barack Obama and Sen. Bob Casey are one in the same), as well as Republican congressional candidates, row officers and state legislative hopefuls. "Don't let these races get lost in the clutter of all the other ads on TV," he said.
His remarks -- which followed a "Happy Birthday" chorus and American-flag-decorated chocolate cupcakes honoring Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley's birthday -- also touched on the state budget, which he pledged will be signed into law by June 30.
He noted that would mean the second on-time budget in two years, drawing applause from the crowd.
However, he was quick to add that it's a $27.66 billion framework that he and GOP lawmakers have agreed to so far: "Things could change as we go through the last couple of days."
The governor also gave perhaps his strongest defense yet of agreeing to add $500 million back into the $27.14 billion spending plan he announced in February.