Party leaders called for getting behind their candidates at the ballot box and through grassroots efforts during the Lycoming County Republican picnic Sunday in South Williamsport.
Candidates for state and federal offices took turns imploring supporters to reject what they say have been big government practices and other policies that are damaging to both the state and the nation.
U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, said the federal debt, Medicare and jobs are the three issues foremost on the mind of voters.
Lycoming County Republican Party Chairman Robert Brobson, left, addresses GOP supporters Sunday in South Williamsport. Candidates for various state and federal offices spoke during the local Republican party picnic.
He noted that while the debt has been rising for the past 20 years, during the Obama Administration alone, it has increased from $10 trillion to $16 trillion.
"We pay $1.2 billion a day on interest on money we borrow," he said.
Marino, who is running against Phil Scollo, said the middle class is "tapped out" and health care costs continue to rise.
"This is the most important election since the Civil War," he said.
Diana Irey Vaughan, running for state treasurer, said Pennsylvania needs a fiscal conservative such as herself in that position.
Vaughan said as a Washington County commissioner she consistently has espoused such practices. Her tenure has included, she said, seven consecutive county budgets without a tax increase.
"Fiscal responsibility is what we are lacking in the U.S. and in the state," said Vaughan, seeking to unseat Democratic Treasurer Rob McCord.
Vaughan said her county, which has been a hotbed of the natural gas industry, is among the nation's leaders in jobs.
State Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, called for everyone to get out and vote.
"If we do that, we can be successful," he said.
Yaw, facing Democrat Luana Cleveland in the November election, noted his senatorial district is the second largest in the state and contains six House seats.
Five of those seats, he noted, are held by Republicans and the other by state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport.
"We really need Harry Rogers for that (seat)," he said.
Rogers told the audience he is working diligently to get elected by going out and meeting people.
"That's what it takes," he said, "grassroots."
State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, echoed Yaw's remarks about electing Rogers.
"The 83rd House race is important," he said. "We need to get as many people out (to vote) as possible."
Everett said Mirabito claims he's a fiscal conservative but votes with his Democratic caucus.
Everett, who faces no opposition this election, also spoke on behalf of Republican auditor general candidate John Maher. He said Maher is a fiscal conservative who has taken the lead in ending big spending practices.
"John believes in open government," he said, noting that Maher helped champion the Right-to-Know law.
Also speaking were Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare and John McDonald, a spokesman for U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith.
Campana, who called this election the most important one of "our lifetime," said Obama needs to be voted out of office.
"We need Mitt Romney elected," he said.
Mussare urged party members to re-elect Yaw and Marino, who have been successful in bringing money back to Lycoming County for funding important services.
McDonald said the race between Smith and incumbent Bob Casey, D-Scranton, is tightening.
"Bob Casey really has to go," he said. "His six years have been a disaster."
He noted Casey votes with Obama 98 percent of the time and that none of his own bills ever have been passed.
Smith, he said, supports a balanced budget and ending tax loopholes.