By Tom Barnes
Republican candidates Toomey, Corbett, Cawley and Dave Argall (a state senator running for a U.S. congressional seat in Harrisburg and its northeastern suburbs) spoke at a spirited rally this afternoon at a hotel in Camp Hill, across the river from Harrisburg.
Mr. Cawley, who is now a Bucks County commissioner, jibed at a TV commercial where Democrat Dan Onorato spells his name for viewers.
"The first three letters in his last name are ‘O-N-O’," Mr. Cawley said. "He says he isn’t a disciple of Democrat Ed Rendell, but we say ‘Oh no, Dan?’ He talks about not raising taxes, but we say ‘Oh, no, Dan?' ’’
Mr. Cawley attacked Mr. Onorato over the controversial tax on poured drinks in Allegheny County, saying that Mr. Onorato "is responsible for that tax. Many bar owners call it the ‘Onorato tax.’ I would consider myself unsuccessful if someone named a tax after me.’’
Mr. Corbett called Tuesday’s election "a generational election,’’ meaning the most important election in the last 30 years or so. "It’s really not about the adults in the room. It’s about the children.’’
The Republicans complained that President Obama’s hefty borrowing and spending policies will cause taxes to be high for future generations.
Mr. Corbett also called for less spending by state government. "We have to change the direction we are going in. We have been watching our state become less competitive and watching our kids leave. We have to change that. I want Pennsylvania to be the standard of excellence in creating jobs, in education, in tourism and in agriculture.’’
After the rally, Mr. Corbett told reporters that claims by Democrats that he has tried to "suppress voter turnout’’ in Democrat-rich Philadelphia are nonsense. He called it "whining’’ by Mr. Onorato.
"Dan’s been whining from day one,’’ Mr. Corbett said. "He hasn’t stopped. We have a positive campaign message. We are setting the pace. I’m not worried about what the Democrats are doing.’’
Other than the city of Harrisburg, southcentral Pennsylvania is largely Republican, so the GOP candidates should do well in the area on Election Day. But state GOP Chairman Rob Gleason told the crowd, "We are close to victory, but we haven’t won anything yet."
"It’s starting to feel like we have victory in the air, but we still have a few more hours to go,’’ said Mr. Toomey, adding that Republicans are needed in Congress "to stop the bailouts, the huge spending and the government-run health care.’’
Everybody seemed happy and excited at the rally, but one man who was escorted out of the room wasn’t. Larry Arnold of suburban Harrisburg said he’s a registered Republican, but a small sign he carried into the room wasn’t appreciated by the Corbett crowd.
It criticized Mr. Corbett for opposing an extraction tax on natural gas pumped from areas of Marcellus Shale. The sign called the candidate "toxic Tom’’ and said he was "good for Marcellus Shale drillers but bad for Pennsylvania waters.’’
Mr. Arnold told reporters he was upset, saying a hotel official asked him to leave the event.