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GOP candidates gather in Waynesboro

October 21, 2008|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. Most of the Republican names that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot in Franklin County gathered at the Waynesboro Ambulance Squad on Monday night to exhort party members to get out the vote in the remaining two weeks of the campaign.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania state Senate candidate Rich Alloway and state Reps. Rob Kauffman, Todd Rock and Dan Moul met with about 90 Republicans at an event sponsored by the Franklin County Reagan Coalition, a political action committee. While Shuster and Alloway have Democratic opponents, Kauffman, Rock and Moul are running unopposed and much of the talk was about the GOP presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Republicans in Pennsylvania's more rural areas must "try and turn out a large vote to offset the vote in the urban areas," Reagan Coalition Chairman Dick McCracken said.

County Commissioner Bob Thomas said Republicans have to generate the kind of enthusiasm the party had coming out of its national convention. With most polls showing McCain trailing Democratic nominee Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, Thomas said polls had Ronald Reagan trailing President Jimmy Carter two weeks before the 1980 election.

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"He hangs around with some unsavory people," Thomas said of Obama and his associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former Weather Underground leader William Ayers.

"This is, I really believe, the most important election in my 47 years on Earth ... This presidential election is so important for the next generation," said Shuster, R-Pa., who is running for re-election to a fifth term against Democrat Tony Barr, who also ran against the congressman in 2006.

"The guy on the other side associates with people who hate America," Shuster said, referring to Obama.

Shuster said Democrats will likely retain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and predicted the number of Democratic Senate seats could climb to 57 or even 60, which would constitute a filibuster-proof majority.

Increasing taxes on businesses will only result in that cost being passed on to consumers, said Moul.

"It's a tax on all the middle class and on the poor," he said.

"I know you folks have been doing the ground game for years," Alloway told the longtime GOP activists. Their grassroots effort to reach out to voters will be needed in the next two weeks, he said.

McCracken announced that former governor Tom Ridge will be on Memorial Square in Chambersburg, Pa., at 11:45 a.m. Friday for a rally in support of McCain.

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