Corbett, GOP Committee Look To Election

Brad Bumsted
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Gov. Tom Corbett predicted a second straight on-time budget by the end of the week and a victory on a tax credit needed to bring an ethane cracker plant to Beaver County.

Though some have criticized the tax credits for Royal Dutch Shell, Corbett says, “I’ll tell you we are gong to get it.”

The plant and spin-offs will create thousands of jobs, he said at a Republican State Committee dinner.

He told state committee members and party leaders gathered here on Friday he expects the Supreme Court next week to decide the fate of President Obama’s health care law. While Corbett was attorney general, Pennsylvania joined other states in trying to overturn the law. At stake is whether government can force people to buy health insurance.

Wearing his hat as de facto party leader, Corbett said Republican officials have one mission in November: to make presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

In an interview with the Tribune-Review, Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason outlined the strategy for Romney to carry Pennsylvania despite Democrats’ success in every presidential election since 1988.

“I learned my lesson four years ago,” Gleason said.

Romney will be aided by several factors: the state’s new photo ID law, a Republican governor, a “re-energized Republican Party of Philadelphia,” a plan to do better in the Lehigh Valley and a door-to-door effort across the state rather than relying on phone calls that tend to irritate voters, Gleason said.

“It’s hard to believe it’s 138 days to the election,” Gleason told the state committee.

He told the Trib the election will be decided on one issue: the economy.

Gleason said Romney told him he will be visiting Pennsylvania often. He was in Lebanon County last weekend.

He told Republicans there that Obama “has been a complete disaster. He has no idea how to get the economy back on track.”

Mark Nicastre, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, repeated a familiar theme in criticizing Romney.

“Mitt Romney is out of touch with the people of Pennsylvania, and his history of outsourcing and policies to encourage companies to move their operations offshore are wrong for Pennsylvania,” Nicastre said.

This election, U.S. Senate nominee Tom Smith of Armstrong County told the state committee, is about stopping the “Obama-Casey agenda” referring to his opponent, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey of Scranton.