By Brad Rhen
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey spoke in Fredericksburg Monday morning as part of his four-day "more jobs, less government" bus tour across Pennsylvania.
Speaking to about 70 people at the Lebanon Valley Livestock Auction, Toomey said the stop was "part of the process of getting the message out."
"I am convinced that when the voters across the commonwealth understand the very clear choice in the race, we're not just going to win Lebanon County, we're going to win this whole race," he said.
Toomey faces U.S. Rep Joe Sestak of Montgomery County in November's election. Sestak defeated longtime Sen. Arlen Specter in May's Democratic primary.
A poll released last week by Public Policy Polling showed Toomey has a 45-36 percent lead over Sestak. Toomey also has a nine-point lead, 46-37, over Sestak in the latest Rasmussen poll.
Toomey said he was running because the current government is the most liberal elected government in the nation's history.
"We've got a group of people who are committed to a very liberal ideology, and they are determined to jam it through regardless of the fact that the people of Pennsylvania and America do not support it," he said.
Toomey cited bailouts of failing companies, out-of-control spending, the increase of the national debt and government-run health care as a few of the policies he opposes.
Of his race with Sestak, Toomey said he is not aware of two candidates who are more different in their philosophies and their positions on the issues affecting the state and the nation.
"His only criticism of his own party is that it hasn't gone far enough," Toomey said of Sestak. "Take that stimulus bill. Seven hundred and some odd billion dollars - a staggering amount of money that we can't afford - Joe Sestak not only voted for it, but he said it should have been a trillion dollars."
A handful of protesters picketed outside the building, protesting what they claim is a record of Toomey siding with Wall Street. A graduate of Harvard, Toomey worked for several years as a derivatives trader on Wall Street before he and his brothers started a chain of family-owned restaurants.
But inside, everyone was for Toomey.
"I think Pat's the man for this time in this nation," said Harold Heim of Lebanon.
Heim said he has known Toomey for a long time, going back to when the company he worked for provided services for the restaurants Toomey owned.
"Pat's always had great morals," Heim said. "He's a good Christian man, and I think we need him to get this country back to where it needs to be."
Pat Braden of South Annville Township said she supported Toomey four years ago, when he narrowly lost the Republican primary to Specter, who later switched parties to Democratic. This year, she's confident Toomey will win.
"He's fiscally responsible, he's true to his word, ... there's just so much," Braden said.
Joining Toomey on Monday were state Sen. Dave Argall, who is running for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Tim Holden, and state Sen. Mike Folmer of Lebanon, who is running for re-election against Democratic Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.
Toomey said the turnout at the event showed energy, enthusiasm and passion among area residents.
"It is extraordinary to have this kind of turnout on a weekday in a small town, but this is where I have tremendous support, and I want to engage with the folks who are supporting and encourage them to spread the word," he said.