HERSHEY, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett compared this year's gubernatorial campaign to halftime at a football game Saturday as he accepted the Republican State Committee's unanimous endorsement for a second four-year term.
"We're going to score and score and score in the second half," Mr. Corbett promised the party faithful who cheered at the Hershey Lodge as rock music blared and hundreds of red, white and blue balloons were released from the ceiling high above.
In his speech, Mr. Corbett portrayed his first-term as a combination of bitter medicine in the form of austerity measures that erased a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall that he inherited and smart policies that have eliminated inheritance taxes on farmers and small businesses, reduced unemployment and pumped billions of new dollars into highway and bridge projects.
"We came up with a game plan, and you don't change the game plan at halftime," he said.
Eight Democrats are competing for their party's nomination to challenge Mr. Corbett in November.
Mr. Corbett, who is struggling to overcome weak job approval ratings and placate conservatives who complain that he is not sensitive to their concerns, said he viewed his election victory in 2010 as a mandate to make tough fiscal decisions and rein in unnecessary spending.
"That's exactly what you nominated me for and the people of Pennsylvania elected me to do. And I can tell you this, I kept my promise," he said.
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who also was endorsed for re-election, warned that this year's gubernatorial campaign will require "an extra special effort" and promised a strong grass roots-based approach.
Mike McMullen of Allegheny County predicted the Corbett-Cawley ticket will overcome a Democratic nominee who has been "battered, bruised and broken" by the campaign ahead of the May 20 primary.
The governor faces a potential primary challenge from Bob Guzzardi, a conservative activist and Ardmore businessman who is regarded as a long-shot candidate.