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Keystone State is crucial to both parties

October 22, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG -- Franklin County Democrats and Republicans apparently agree on two things - Pennsylvania will be a crucial state in the presidential election in two weeks and getting out the vote will be the top priority in the final two weeks.

That was the message to GOP voters on Monday night at an event in Waynesboro, Pa., and the call to Democrats on Tuesday at their fall dinner.

"You never play looking at the scoreboard," said Tony Barr, the Democratic nominee for the Ninth District seat to the U.S. House of Representatives now held by Republican Bill Shuster. Polls show Democrat Barack Obama with a lead over Republican John McCain in the Keystone State, but Barr warned against complacency.

"Now is not the time to go into a prevent defense," Barr said.

Barr said he was buoyed in April when he collected more votes in the Democratic primary than Shuster did in the Republican primary.

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"I, Tony Barr, teacher, everyman, Democrat, beat the mighty Bill Shuster ... I know it didn't count," he said of the primary vote. Barr criticized Shuster for his vote in favor of the $700 billion bill to "bail out the Wall Street banker who created this mess," the war in Iraq, health care and other issues.

Electing McCain president, Barr said, will be "four more years of George Bush" and Sarah Palin would be "Dick Cheney in a dress."

Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli said he hopes to become the first Democratic-elected attorney general since it was made an elected office in 1980.

He is running against Attorney General Tom Corbett who, Morganelli said, won by 1.3 percent over his Democratic opponent four years ago.

Morganelli said the Democratic edge in registered voters over Republicans in Pennsylvania has grown from about 400,000 a few years ago to 1.2 million now, a margin that could mean victory for Obama, himself and other Democrats statewide.

Before the dinner, Morganelli criticized Corbett on several issues, including not returning a large donation from a casino operator who has been charged with perjury and for his conduct of the "Bonusgate" investigation of Democratic state legislators.

"It's been botched because Mr. Corbett only went after Democrats," Morganelli said. Instead, an independent prosecutor should have been appointed, he said.

Democratic Committee Chairwoman Beth Shupp-George told the 40 people at the dinner that the party has registered about 2,000 more voters in the county than the Republicans in the past year. She asked them to help recruit people to staff phone banks, be poll watchers and do door-to-door canvassing over these finals days, as well as for drivers and other volunteers on election day.

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