Casey Rallies Berks Democrats for Judy Schwank (With Video)

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Senator Bob Casey received a warm welcome today in Reading, as more than 150 supporters crowded into the local IBEW hall during a rally for Judy Schwank.

Schwank is the Democratic nominee in the special election to replace the late State Senator Mike O’Pake, who was paid homage by both Schwank and Casey.

“She’s got a record of cutting spending, but also adding accountability,” said Casey. “And perhaps just as importantly, she’ll be a advocate for bipartisanship.”

Casey explained Schwank’s experience was her strength, and argued that she was the better person to address issues that matter to Berks county: economic growth, protecting children, caring for seniors, and rural issues.

Schwank thanked her supporters and encouraged them to press on to March 15th.

“We’re gonna make this happen, I just feel it. we’re going to work hard. we’re going to show the people of this district, the people of Berks County, and the people of Pennsylvania that the right leadership does make a difference,” Schwank said.

Watch Schwank’s entire remarks below.

“The individual who follows in Senator O’Pake’s footsteps needs to be an individual that will really work the hardest. We deserve it here in Berks County. You have my commitment to do that.”

The room was brimming with excitement and the tangible feeling among Democrats that Schwank is heading toward a win. There was also a noticeable undertone of determination among party activists not to have a repeat of their party’s disappointing performance in November, when Republicans outperformed Democrats in nearly every contested election anywhere in Berks County.

About 50 union members waited outside to greet Casey, as did 2 Tea Party protesters. All told, attendance was above 150. The event also generated decent press for the Schwank campaign. WFMZ has a camera there, the Reading Eagle was out in force, and Capitolwire’s Pete DeCoursey was there too.

Watch Casey’s speech below.

Schwank and other presenters had a little fun with some bad publicity their opponent’s campaign endured this week, when reporters were unexpectedly barred from an event with Governor Corbett after Larry Medaglia’s had said that press was invited.

State Senator Daylin Leach, Chairman of the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee, opened the proceedings with his trademark glib remarks.

“I’ve been looking at the negative campaign Judy’s opponent has been running, with the awful photoshopped pictures of her on those mail pieces,” Leach said. “And kudos to him, because it takes an awful lot of work to make Judy look unattractive.”

Leach went on to call Schwank “the best candidate I’ve ever had,” among people he’s recruited to run for office.

Schwank was also endorsed by the Conservation Voters of PA, whose Executive Director John McNeil offered strong words of support.

“I can encourage you to recycle. I can encourage you to conserve. But the single most important thing you can do to help the environment is to get all of your friends and neighbors, and make sure they get out and vote for Judy Schwank on March 15th.”

After the event, Schwank and Casey proceeded to a fundraiser hosted by mega-donor, department store founder and Reading native Al Boscov.

Interestingly, former Governor Ed Rendell was on hand for the Boscov fundraiser but not the public event with Casey. The photo below was posted on Schwank’s facebook page.

DSSCC spokesman Aren Platt said the former Gov was there at Boscov’s request, not the campaign’s.

“This isn’t about Rendell campaigning for Judy,” Platt said. This is about the close, personal friendship between Al Boscov and Ed Rendell.”

Boscov has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Rendell’s campaigns over the years, but has also made large contributions to Republicans. He was a major financial supporter of Senator O’Pake.

Leach, Rendell, Casey, Boscov and Schwank

March 6th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Video | No Comments