Kaine calls Pennsylvania the ‘checkmate state’ during Bucks rally

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Bucks County got a visit from another political headliner this week with Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.

With 13 days to go until the Nov. 8  election, Democrats, from Kaine to a member of the Middletown Board of Supervisors, made their push to get people to vote up and down the ticket at a rally held at the Bucks County Community College’s main campus in Newtown on Wednesday.

“I heard you guys are pretty important,” Kaine joked to 300 or so Pennsylvania voters who attended to the event.

Kaine’s appearance comes less than a week after Republican nominee for president Donald Trump spoke at the Newtown Athletic Club, less than a month after Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the college’s Lower Bucks campus and two months after Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, came to Pipersville. Pence will return to Bucks this Friday for a rally at Bensalem’s TC Millwork Inc.

Voters in Philadelphia’s collar counties have been eyed by observers as the most important in swinging the state toward either presidential candidate. Recent polls show Trump’s campaign lagging in the state, and particularly in these areas.

Still, Democrats continue the push for Clinton and down-ticket candidates like 8th District Congressional candidate Steve Santarsiero, U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty, attorney general candidate Josh Shapiro and others in state races.

Perry Warren, who is running for Santarsiero’s state House seat in the 31st District against Republican Ryan Gallagher, spoke before Kaine.

“It is absolutely critical for the folks in this audience that we elect Democrats up and down the ticket,” Warren said, laying out a platform based on funding education, including pre-K,, and working toward gun safety laws. “We’re not going to have shooters on campus here in Bucks County.”

Both Shapiro and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey spoke at the event and called Bucks County the “epicenter” of Pennsylvania politics this election.

“It’s one of the most important counties, literally, in the whole country,” Casey said. “I have no doubt that this county will deliver for Hillary Clinton on Election Day.”

Other speakers included Bucks Democratic Party Chairman John Cordisco and Middletown Supervisor Amy Strouse.

Cordisco, a student at Bucks Community College in the 1970s, talked about the government programs that helped his family through their financial struggles at that time.

“In Donald Trump’s world, I’d be a loser,” he said. “If you’re a graduate of Bucks County Community College, you’re no loser.”

When Kaine took the stage, he laid out Clinton’s plan for the presidency. He talked about building the economy through investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and technology. He said she would focus on educating the workforce and raising the minimum wage.

“You should not work full-time in this country and live below the poverty line,” Kaine said.

Kaine also said Clinton would concentrate on where jobs come from, noting that 65 percent of jobs are in small businesses.

“If we do those things, in the first term, we will grow the economy by 10.5 million jobs,” he said. “The difference between a Hillary Clinton presidency and a Donald Trump presidency is 14 million jobs. I call that the difference between a ‘you’re hired’ president and a ‘you’re fired’ president.”

Kaine also went through the three presidential debates, particularly Trump’s criticism of Clinton for not having “the stamina” to be president, being a “nasty woman” and the Republican nominee refusing to say whether he’ll accept the results of the election.

“That nasty woman is picking up some momentum,” Kaine said. “You guys are a checkmate state. If we win here, we’re gonna win.”

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