UNIVERSITY PARK — Centre County Democrats President Greg Stewart said the challenge of the evening at the party’s fall dinner would be to find the three people not running for governor in 2014 out of the 153 guests.
In total, four governor candidates and two lieutenant governor candidates were given a chance to speak at the dinner. They were joined by dozens of local and state politicians and active members of the party at the Sunday dinner in The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
Governor candidates Max Myers, John Hanger, Tom Wolf and Rob McCord and lieutenant governor candidates Brad Koplinski and Mark Smith touched on topics such as the Marcellus Shale, public education, job creation and getting incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett out of office.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the race will be won by the people on the ground.
Volunteers from around the state getting out and knocking on doors will be key in trying to unseat the incumbent, he said, adding that the groundwork done by constituents is what got him to be elected.
He said it will be important for the base to drive major support for whomever the nominee is, and a key issue will be public education.
Showing strong support for schools is something that the state needs in its leader, he said.
“If we want to prepare our kids for the future, we’ve got to do a better job on education right now,” he said.
While many are focused on the governor’s race, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said people also need to pay attention to the local races across the county coming up next month.
Though many of the district judge races are uncontested, she said those are the people who keep the criminal justice system moving in Centre County and residents should watch the races closely.
“Please pay attention to what happens locally because that’s how crime is fought,” she said.
Parks Miller is also running unopposed for re-election.
The night was also designed to recognize the accomplishments of longtime Centre County resident and political figure Keith Bierly, who was given the lifetime achievement award.
Bierly served 12 years as a district judge before serving 16 consecutive years as a county commissioner.
Stewart called the turnout for the event “phenomenal,” saying he was happy organizers were able to fill the room with so many people.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.