WYSOX TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Top Republican candidates in Pennsylvania came from around the state to woo the local voters in Bradford County. What is usually an open field of land atop a grassy hill in Wysox Township, greeted hundreds of people on Sunday afternoon with a “Welcome to Trump Country” sign, for the Rally at the Rock event.
Rally at the Rock has been held for five years now, organized by Doug McLinko, Bradford County Commissioner, and a team of others. McLinko says this is an event for the locals to meet their candidates, and it has only been growing ever since it started.
“Started out with about a couple hundred people, we’re hitting about 700 now,” McLinko said.
Some candidates made an over five-hour trek by car, others took flights from various states, and some even helicoptered to the site itself. As the 2022 senatorial and gubernatorial races start to heat up, candidates did not want to miss out on an opportunity to meet the people of Bradford County who voted over 70% Republican in the 2020 election.
“When you run state-wide, you never forget what a privilege it is to be invited to businesses and local rallies…Events like Rally at the Rock are an incredible opportunity to connect with grassroots activists,” said GOP candidate for US Senate in PA, Jeff Bartos.
This year the event attracted five U.S. Senate candidates, and eight gubernatorial candidates, making it the only republican event scheduled in Pennsylvania so far that has had this many potential 2022 candidates in attendance, according to Rally at the Rock organizer.
Over the past year, the nation’s economy has been wood sawed. At the same time, there has been a focus on racial justice and an examination of how the history of this county is being taught in schools. These GOP candidates were mainly focused on these types of issues that are on a national scope.
Many of them expressed disapproval for critical race theory. Kathy Barnette, who is running in Pennsylvania in hopes to become the first Black Republican woman elected to the US Senate, is a stark opponent of that movement.
“Our children are being taught a very evil ideology of critical race theory… little girls and boys are being told that if you’re white that makes you evil, or that if you’re black then you are not privileged,” said Barnette.
Even as the 2020 Presidential election is in the rearview mirror, for these candidates and constituents, former President Trump, the issue of fair elections, and voting laws are on their minds.
Jason Richey, GOP candidate for PA. Governor, says that election integrity has been an issue Republicans are focusing on, that stemmed from the last election. Richey is in favor of repealing Act 77, legislation that was passed in 2019, allowing no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania. This was an act that had near-unanimous GOP support when it was signed into law, yet many other candidates at the event reiterated this stance, of repealing.
In Pennsylvania, the seat for governor, and one Senate seat will be open in 2022. People will be keeping a close eye on Pennsylvania’s senatorial elections as both democrats and republicans will be fighting for that spot.