Delaware County Times
The smell of a Pennsylvania victory for Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s election was in the air Thursday night at a Republican rally at Heritage Ballrooms where Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was the star of the show.
“If Mitt Romney wins Pennsylvania, he will be the next president of the United States,” Rubio told a cheering an estimated crowd of 700 people.
Before Rubio arrived at the rally, several GOP stalwarts spoke about the smell of success in Pennsylvania.
“We heard about the rally a day ago and I think it’s because the Romney camp thinks Pennsylvania is in play and we can win. And if we win Pennsylvania, we can win the presidency,” said state Rep. Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown.
State Sen. Edwin “Ted” Erickson, R-26, of Newtown, echoed Killion’s comments, saying Romney will do well in the state.
“Don’t write off Pennsylvania,” Erickson added.
Former Delaware County Republican Committee chairman Tom Judge said he heard about the rally Wednesday, commenting that the Romney camp “wrote off Pennsylvania.”
“Until last week,” Judge said. “Now it appears it could be winnable. (The Romney campaign is) utting a lot of effort into this and everything seems to be in our favor right now.”
Delaware County GOP Chairman Andy Reilly said the Romney campaign contacted the county, indicating they wanted to reach out to Ridley Township, whose organization was holding its annual dinner at Heritage Thursday night. He noted that the Romney campaign coordinated the event with Ridley Township GOP Chairman Bob Willert.
Rubio arrived at the rally, set for 6:30, about 20 minutes behind schedule. When he entered the ballroom, wild cheering broke out. Introductions were extended by Willert and U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, who quoted a Chicago newspaper that stated Wednesday that there is no doubt that Pennsylvania is in play for a Romney victory.
Meehan said absentee ballots are running 17 percent higher so far this year than four years ago.
“When heavy lifting needs to be done, they come to Delaware County, and when heavy lifting needs to be done, they come to Ridley Township,” Meehan told the crowd. “The future of the nation is at stake … and I suggest to you, the future of the world.”
When Rubio took the podium, he called Pennsylvania a swing state and assured the crowd that Romney is going to win Florida. He drew cheers when he said the most important jobs Romney has done are those of a husband and a father, a businessman, and one-time head of the Olympics.
“This is a successful person,” Rubio said.
The Florida senator chided Obama for his campaign platform four years ago that promised change.
“This country is more divided now then it was four years ago,” Rubio said. “There is only one man who can bring this country together and that man is Mitt Romney. There is no reason why we can’t lead the world. When America is the strongest country in the world, the world is a better place.
“There is still nothing that can replace the American example,” he continued. “If Mitt Romney wins Pennsylvania, he will be the next president of the United States.”
Rubio gave a plug for the election of Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Tom Smith, who will be in Delaware County at 10:30 a.m. Sunday in Springfield.
“And if you elect Tom Smith, we will have a (Republican) majority in the U.S. Senate,” Rubio said.