Toomey stops in Centre County

United State Senator for Pennsylvania Pat Toomey addresses local supporters at Champs Bar and Grill in State College on Tuesday.
United State Senator for Pennsylvania Pat Toomey addresses local supporters at Champs Bar and Grill in State College on Tuesday. adrey@centredaily.com

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., kicked off an eight-day, 26-county re-election bid tour on Sunday in a bus with the words “security, prosperity, independence” displayed in capital letters on the side.

The tour made two stops in the area on Tuesday — one in Spruce Creek in Huntingdon County and the other at Champs Sports Grill on North Atherton Street in State College. Security was a topic of much discussion.

At an event hosted by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, for agricultural leaders, Toomey said the Iran nuclear deal “endangers us.”

He brought it up again at his next stop.

The world has become a dangerous place under the leadership of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he said.

The nuclear deal — which aims to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities — is a “complete, unmitigated disaster,” Toomey said.

If Iran wanted to abandon its nuclear program, he asked, why would it still be testing missiles?

He also took issue with Obama’s effort to release detainees from Guantanamo Bay, saying once prisoners are released, they don’t suddenly like the United States. He said they’ll rejoin the battle when they leave the Cuban facility.

His security concerns are not only foreign but also domestic.

Toomey has been vocal about wanting to end sanctuary city policies.

His bill, which would have prevented federal funding from going to cities with relaxed immigration/deportation policies, fell 53-44 in the Senate.

But he reiterated his commitment to the issue. He said he feels strongly about it, adding “I’m not giving up.”

At both stops, Nos. 5 and 6 on a busy day, Toomey stressed the importance of the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania.

“We are in a tremendous battle,” he told attendees at Thompson’s event in Spruce Creek.

The senator is up against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, Gov. Tom Wolf’s former chief of staff.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday has McGinty at 47 percent and Toomey at 44 percent of likely voters, within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Quinnipiac University surveyed 815 Pennsylvania voters between July 30 and Aug. 7.

Not only is the race tight, but it could also determine control of the Senate, Toomey said.

With everything that’s going on in the world, “here’s a guy (who’s) going to stand up for us,” said Centre County Commissioner Steve Dershem, who introduced Toomey at Champs.

“We gotta keep him in Washington,” Dershem said.

Toomey’s opponent, McGinty, will be at Ag Progress Days on Wednesday.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619; @SarahRafacz